Centre likely to notify MGNREGS wage revision, calls it 'routine' exercise

According to a source, the changes in rates are to be notified for the upcoming financial year starting 1 April

The last revision in MGNREGA wages was notified on 24 March, 2023 (photo: National Herald archives)
The last revision in MGNREGA wages was notified on 24 March, 2023 (photo: National Herald archives)
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PTI

The rural development ministry may notify revision in wage rates under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and it has received a clearance from the Election Commission of India as the poll code is in force, sources said on Thursday.

Though ministry officials refused to comment on the issue in view of the model code of conduct (MCC) being in place after the announcement of the Lok Sabha poll schedule, they said it is a "routine" matter and that ministries approach the EC for clearances when the model code is in place.

According to a source, the changes in rates are to be notified for the upcoming financial year starting 1 April. 

"It’s the regular process of revision of rates every financial year from 1 April. The ministry has taken permission from the EC for notifying it," the source said. 

The Centre determines wages under the flagship scheme under sub-Section (1) of Section (6) of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, which says the Central government may, by notification, specify the wage rate for its beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, retired IAS officer EAS Sarma has written to the poll panel, saying while a similar clearance was given in 2019 for notifying MGNREGA wage changes, the poll panel had directed that no publicity should be given to the hike through media, no political functionaries should refer to it, and the restriction was imposed on both the Centre and states. 

"I am sure that the Commission's latest clearance stipulated similar conditions. If not, it is necessary for the Commission to impose such restrictions," he said in his letter addressed to chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar and the two election commissioners.

Stating that the latest wage revision is "all over the press", he said, "apparently, the concerned ministry has deliberately or otherwise given out the details to the media in violation of the MCC. May I call upon the commission to investigate this urgently and take exemplary action, if necessary?"

He also sought the poll panel to impose restrictions on political functionaries as was done in 2019 and prohibit political functionaries from referring to the wage hike or parties to put up posters with political functionaries' pictures. 

The last revision in MGNREGA wages was notified on 24 March, 2023. The increase in the wages for different states varied from two per cent to 10 per cent. Karnataka, Goa, Meghalaya and Manipur were among the states which registered the lowest percentage increase in the wages.


Rajasthan had registered the highest percentage increase in the MNREGA wages. The revised rate for Rajasthan was Rs 255 against Rs 231 in 2022.

Bihar and Jharkhand came second in terms of percentage increase in wages, with the rates being hiked by around eight per cent compared to 2022. In 2022, the wages of an MNREGA worker in these two states was Rs 210, which was increased to Rs 228 in 2023.

In a report tabled in Parliament earlier in 2024, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development and Panchayati Raj had pointed out the high range of variation in MGNREGS wages across states, and had also said that the wages were inadequate and not in consonance with the rising cost of living.  

The panel also quoted a report of the Central government committee on minimum wages -- Anoop Satpathy Committee -- which had recommended that the wages under MGNREGA should be Rs 375 per day.

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