After poverty line, the government and the civil society may converge on bringing crores of workers enrolled under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) under the minimum wages law.
The government had earlier rejected demand by civil society members and Sonia Gandhi- headed National Advisory Council of paying wages to MGNREGA workers as per notified minimum wages of states. The reason given was that states could hike minimum wages, thereby making funding MGNREGA difficult.
But, the government decided to index MGNREGA wages with inflation on yearly basis - automatic wage revision once a year. It meant that only in 11 states MGNREGA wages was higher than state notified minimum wages.
The Karnataka high court this week held that denying minimum wage to a worker was breach of his fundamental rights. "We hope this decision will be used as an opportunity to conclusively resolve this issue and ensure that no worker is forced to work for less than minimum wages in the country," said NAC member Aruna Roy in a statement.