Pay revised wages for MGNREGA, says SC

The Supreme Court on Friday directed all States to pay workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MGNREGA) revised wages as per the notification issued by the Centre in February this year.

A Bench of Justices S.J. Mukhopadaya and S.A. Bobde passed this order disposing of a special leave petition filed by the Centre against a Karnataka High Court verdict that said the Union government was liable to pay higher wages under the country’s flagship rural employment programme in tandem with that of the State’s minimum wage rate. It further asked the government to find a way out to end the disparity between the wages paid under the MGNREGA and State-mandated rates under the Minimum Wages Act.

As per the February 13, 2014 notification issued by the Ministry of Rural Development, the wages per day to be paid by the States and Union Territories range from Rs. 156 in Uttarakhand to Rs. 236 in Haryana. In Karnataka, the wages were revised from Rs. 100 to Rs. 191. Earlier, wages paid to MGNREGA workers in Karnataka was Rs. 100, where0he minimum wages in the State was Rs. 119 and it was on this basis the High Court asked the Centre to pay minimum wages and not Rs. 100.

During the resumed hearing, Additional Solicitor-General P.S. Narasimha pointed out that the Centre had already revised the wages from February. Taking note of this submission, the Bench asked all the States and Union Territories to pay wages to MGNREGA workers as per the schedule of wages in the February 13 notification.

When counsel V.K. Biju, appearing for Karnataka, pointed out that even the revised wages was less than the minimum wages in some States, the Bench said it was open to them to challenge the notification and to move a contempt petition if the arrears were not paid.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 5:51:00 AM |

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