Last week, when the labour ministry rejigged its panel on minimum wages, it appointed B Janardhan Reddy as the chairperson.
The appointment raised eyebrows as Reddy’s son is getting married to Bandaru Dattatreya’s daughter Vijaya Lakshmi in Hyderabad on Thursday.
The central advisory board on minimum wages plays a key role in recommending the revision in the minimum wages of central pool labours, impacting thousands of workers’ lives.
Dattatreya claimed the appointment was planned six months ago while the marriage was fixed two months ago. “Reddy told me that he will not take any post after the marriage was finalised. He offered to resign,” the minister told HT. But the notification for the appointment, dated November 18, contains Reddy’s name.
Sources in the labour ministry pointed out that apart from being Dattatreya’s relative, Reddy is also an influential BJP leader in Andhra Pradesh.
Three months ago, the wage panel was in the spotlight when the Centre hiked daily wages by more than Rs 100, based on its recommendations. The panel met days before the trade unions went on strike and tried to put the unions in a spot.
Reddy’s appointment also raised eyebrows as his profile does not match the qualifications of the chairperson listed in the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. According to the Act, central advisory board “shall consist of persons to be nominated by the central government representing employers and employees in the scheduled employments who shall be equal in number and independent persons not exceeding one-third of its total number of members; one of such independent persons shall be appointed the chairman of the board by the central government”.
The labour ministry rejiged the panel close on the heels of the Supreme Court directive in October that underlined the concept of equal pay for equal work.