How a country like India can deny payment of minimum wages, she asks

For the second time since it was created, rights activist Aruna Roy has resigned from the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC), this time criticising the government for not accepting the council’s recommendations on minimum wages to workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), even as she thanked the council’s chairperson for the freedom she was given to express views.

In the UPA’s first term, too, Ms. Roy quit the NAC in 2006, expressing her unhappiness at the government moving away from the Common Minimum Programme, whose implementation the council was meant to oversee. But she returned to the NAC in the UPA’s second term in 2010.

Ms. Roy wrote to Ms. Gandhi on May 11, saying that she did not wish to be considered for another term of NAC, and the NAC chairperson accepted the request on May 20. The term of the NAC members ends on May 31.

NAC sources said that while the tenures of the other members have been extended, tribal expert and sociologist Virginius Xaxa will replace Ms. Roy in the council.

Dr. Xaxa, currently teaching at Delhi University, is the author of State, Society and Tribes: Issues in Post-Colonial India (2008) and the seminal article “Tribes as Indigenous People of India,” considered essential reading for an understanding of India’s tribal communities.

‘How can a country like India deny payment of minimum wages?’