MLAs demand revision of minimum wages for workers

Bhubaneswar: Cutting across party lines, members of Odisha Assembly today demanded immediate announcement of new minimum wages for daily workers saying they remain underpaid for their work.

The issue was raised by former minister and MLA Prafulla Ghadai who said the committee set up to fix minimum wages has already submitted its report, but the government is yet to announce the new wage slabs.

Stating that the government had announced the minimum wage in 2009, Ghadai said the rates in neighbouring states should be taken into consideration.

BJD leader R P Swain supported Ghadai and sought immediate announcement of the new minimum wage rates.

The minimum wage for unskilled labourers in Odisha is Rs 90 while the rate for semi-skilled labourers has been fixed at Rs 103. For skilled workers, the rate is Rs 116 and for highly skilled workers it is Rs 129 with variable dearness allowance of Rs 2.50.

Supporting the ruling BJD members, Congress Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan said government must simultaneously increase the minimum support price for paddy as increase in minimum wage would hit the agriculture sector.

Leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh of Congress demanded increase in the subsidy amount on paddy as done by other states. He demanded minimum support price for paddy between Rs 1700 to Rs 1800 per quintal with subsidy.

The present minimum support price for paddy was Rs 1080 per quintal which need to be increased to strengthen farmers, Harichandan said.