Low pay and wage inequality persist in India despite 7 per cent annual average gross domestic product (GDP) growth over the past two decades, according to a new report by the International Labour Organization, a United Nations agency.
While real wages almost doubled over 18 years between 1993-94 and 2011-12 and GDP grew four-fold, “the Indian labour market remains characterized by high levels of segmentation and informality”, inhibiting India’s path to achieving decent working conditions and inclusive growth, said the India Wage Report, which used government wage and employment data from the National Employment and Unemployment Survey (EUS) and National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) to analyse wage trends in India and reflect on policies for inclusive growth.
“We are surprised that wage policy has not made, up to now, a great impact on low-wage earners,” Xavier Estupiñan, wage specialist at the International Labour Organization and one of the authors of the report, told IndiaSpend. “If you have a sound wage policy in place, this will benefit the part of the workforce who are casual workers, getting their income on a daily basis and have less job security.”
Up to 62 per cent (121 million) of employed people in 2011-12 were casual workers, the last available data from the EUS show. Yet while employment in the organised sector has grown, many of these jobs are casual, informal and lack basic social security benefits.
Wide disparities across gender, states and casual/salaried workers show a pervasively unequal employment landscape across the country. Women still earn, on average, 34 per cent less than men (though down from 48 per cent in 1993-94), and the daily wage of rural regular workers is, on average, 49 per cent less than their urban counterparts.
Source: First Post