The Centre has increased wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) by an average 2.9 per cent for the 2018-19 season, at a rate marginally higher than the 2.7 per cent in 2017-18. However, in almost 10 states, including some of the poorest like Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, there has been no increase.
The government says MGNREGS wages have not be increased by much as they are linked to Consumer Price Index (Rural), which has a higher weight of food items. And this index has not seen much increase since the implementation of Food Act. But civil society activists and others call the argument misleading.
Business Standard takes a look at the states that have seen MGNREGS wages going up at the highest rate in 2018-19, those that have seen no change at all, and how the wages in these states compare with their respective prevailing minimum wages for agriculture labourers: