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J&K, Kerala Top RBI's List of Rural Daily Wages; Gujarat, MP Amongst Lowest

The Covid pandemic had a negative impact on employment and income levels during the fiscal year 2021–2022, which turned out to be a horrific scenario for the rural economy. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has determined that agricultural labourers in the states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh receive the lowest daily earnings in the nation at a time when interest rates are rising and inflation is at an all-time high

Ayushi Sikarwar
Farmer in an open field in rural India (File Image)
Farmer in an open field in rural India (File Image)

The Covid pandemic had a negative impact on employment and income levels during the fiscal year 2021–2022, which turned out to be a horrific scenario for the rural economy. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has determined that agricultural laborers in the states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh receive the lowest daily earnings in the nation at a time when interest rates are rising and inflation is at an all-time high

In the recent data by the central agency, male agricultural labourers in Madhya Pradesh received a daily wage of Rs 217.8 only, while in Gujarat, it was Rs 220.3 in the fiscal year that ended in March 2022. Significantly, the daily pay in both states is lower than the national average of Rs 323.2.

This implies that, if a rural farm worker would make about Rs 5,500 per month while working for 25 days a month in Gujarat, he would not be able to earn enough to cover the expenditures of a family of four or five people via his earnings. Further, an agricultural worker in MP would have received a mere monthly salary of about Rs 5,445.

Among other poor performing states in the category, the rural farm labourers in Uttar Pradesh received an average daily income of Rs 270 in 2021–2022; in Maharashtra, it was Rs 284.2; and in Odisha, it was Rs 269.5.

On the other hand, the best paid state in the union, Kerala, pays its rural farm workers an average of Rs 18,170 for 25 days of work each month.

Kerala has the highest average pay for agricultural labourers, at Rs. 726.8 per farmer. With an estimated 25 lakh migrant labourers residing in the state, Kerala's high earnings have drawn farm workers from other states with low wages.

Meanwhile, Farm labourers make an average of Rs 524.6 per person in Jammu & Kashmir, Rs 457.6 in Himachal Pradesh, and Rs 445.6 in Tamil Nadu.

Daily Wages of Non-Agriculture Male Workers

According to the RBI data, the state with the lowest daily wage for male non-agricultural workers turned out to be Madhya Pradesh with an average of Rs 230.3, followed by Gujarat and Tripura with daily wages of Rs 252.5 and Rs 250 per person, respectively. These wages are all less than the national average of Rs 326.6.

Kerala, on the other hand, continues to lead in terms of non-agricultural workers' earnings, paying each employee Rs 681.8. For the fiscal year that ended in March 2022, Kerala was followed by J&K with Rs 500.8, Tamil Nadu with Rs 462.3, and Haryana with Rs 409.3 per worker respectively.

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