SRINAGAR: For the first time since 2013, the J&K government today approved a significant hike in ‘Minimum Wages’ for skilled and unskilled labourers, and administrative/ministerial labour.
Chairing the meeting of State Advisory Board on Revision of Minimum Wages at the Civil Secretariat here, Minister of Finance and Labour and Employment, Dr Haseeb Drabu approved the hike in ‘Minimum Wages’ for ‘unskilled’ labour from Rs 150 to Rs 225, a hike of 50 percent while in case of skilled labour, wages will be hiked from Rs 225 to Rs 300, an increase of 33.3 percent.
Dr Drabu said the Labour Department has abolished the category of ‘semi-skilled’ labour while ‘highly-skilled’ category has been introduced for which rate has been fixed at Rs 400. In case of administrative/ministerial staff, wages will go up from 200 to 325, a hike of 62.5 percent.
“In the longer run, the Labour Department will formulate a comprehensive strategy which will provide social security to the Labour Class and restore their dignity in the society,” Dr Drabu said.
The Finance Minister was told there will be a reasonable annual hike of 10 to 15 percent for all class of labour and the Labour Department will working out a ‘social security package’ for them.
“The ‘social security package’ must include schemes such as Provident Fund, Medical and Emergency Insurance, and other benefits. The package will provide social security to workers who fall sick or get disabled during the course of their daily work,” Dr Drabu said.
He said the Government is moving to bring the ‘Minimum Wages’ at par with the market standard in coming years while directing the officers to re-examine the classification of labourers in the light of use of new technology.
“Skilled labour should be incentivised and the real income of all class of workers should be linked with Consumer Price Index. Also, the category of ‘unskilled’ labour registered with the Government must be moved to ‘skilled’ category after progression of five years so that there is improvement in the lives of workers as time passes by,” Dr Drabu said.
Drabu directed the Labour Department to introduce formal training, vocational training, factor in work experience and provide other training in respective fields to both ‘skilled’ and ‘unskilled’ labour which will go a long way in empowering them financially.
The Finance Minister was informed that the number of skilled, unskilled, semi-skilled and ministerial labour in Jammu and Kashmir was between 7-8 lakh of whom around 3.5 lakh are registered with the Construction and Other Workers Board while others will be covered in coming days and months.
“The comprehensive package will also cover workers engaged for implementation of different government schemes by Departments such as Education and RDD. The government is also working on formulating comprehensive Labour Laws for the welfare of labour class,” he said.