WAGE RATES IN RURAL INDIA (2006-07) 

 

2.  METHODOLOGY FOR COMPILATION OF THE WAGE RATE DATA

 

2.1. INTRODUCTION

 

            It is universally accepted that a number of factors determine the agrarian structure of any country such as physical features, natural resources, population growth, pressure on land, economic development rate, level of  effective utilization of resources and the institutional factors namely land systems and inheritance law.

 

None can deny the fact that in the resources hierarchy of India, agriculture occupies the uppermost place.  Agriculture is not only an economic activity but a way of life also.  It is the main source of man-power supply to the fast growing industrial sector in India.  As such, its inherent problems are at the root of all other problems.   Moreover, agricultural labour constitutes the most important segment of the unorganised weaker sections of the work force. As the rural labour remains  unorganized as well as  scattered, it is deprived of the benefits of labour  enactments and  employer-employee relationships which their counter parts enjoy in the organized sector of the  industries.  Agricultural labour  have to content with the casual employment and frequent changes of employers as well as places and no fixed pay.

 

Coupled with this is scanty information base on the working and living conditions of this segment.    The only major source of reliable information on socio-economic conditions of the rural labour is the Rural Labour Enquiry conducted on quinquennial  basis.   Consumer Price Index Numbers for Agricultural and Rural Labourers ,  released by the Bureau on monthly basis,  provide data for the fixation and revision of minimum wages in agriculture under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.  This data has also been found useful for the calculation of State/National Income and  in the assessment of cost of cultivation of crops.

 

 Technical Working Group on rural retail prices set up by the NSSO in 1974  in its recommendation to revise/update the series of Consumer Price Index Numbers for Agricultural and  Rural Labourers,  felt the need for a regular in-flow of wage data for rural workers.  Since the prices and wages are related to each other, it was felt that it would be useful if trend of these two characteristics were available on the basis of same coverage. The Group, therefore, suggested for collection of wage rates for a number of occupations from a suitable sample of villages in various states so that  fairly representative picture of wage situation is available for the entire country on continuous basis.

 

In view of the recommendations of the Group, the wage rate data in respect of  11 agricultural and  7 non-agricultural occupations entailing manual work are being collected along with rural retail prices from 600 sample villages spread over 20 states in the country since July, 1986 with the following objectives:

i)     for enforcement of minimum wages fixed/revised by the Government; 

ii)    for drawing up and implementation of Wage Policy; and

iii)   for estimation of State Domestic Product/National Income and Cost of Cultivation studies.              

 

The compilation of wage rate data was held in abeyance for some time, owing to some problem with regard to the veracity of data with reference to the purpose for which it was being collected.   During the year 1995, the Governing Council of the National Sample Survey Organisation  not only sorted out the problems  but also  recommended that the wage rate data should continue to be collected and published every month. In pursuance of the recommendation of the Council, the Labour Bureau took up the work of compiling wage rate data since the agricultural year 1995-96. These data are now being compiled on regular monthly basis and published in monthly publication, the Indian Labour Journal, w.e.f. April, 1998.

 

2.2.  SAMPLE SIZE

Since the rural retail prices for compilation of CPI Numbers for Agricultural/Rural Labourers and wage rates are collected from the same set of sample villages, the state-wise sample size was, therefore, decided by the Working Group as per the need for constructing the CPI Nos for (i) Agricultural and for (ii) Rural Labourers

 

The state-wise distribution of the number of regions, strata and sample

villages is given below:

Sl.No.

State

Region

Strata

Sample village

1

Andhra Pradesh

4

18

54

2

Assam

3

8

27

3

Bihar

3

13

39

4

Gujarat

5

10

30

5

Haryana

2

4

12

6

Himachal Pradesh

1

3

9

7

Jammu & Kashmir

3

5

21

8

Karnataka

4

11

36

9

Kerala

2

5

21

10

Madhya Pradesh

7

23

69

11

Maharashtra

6

18

54

12

Manipur

2

2

9

13

Meghalaya

1

2

9

14

Orissa

3

8

33

15

Punjab

2

5

15

16

Rajasthan

4

7

21

17

Tamil Nadu

4

11

33

18

Tripura

1

3

9

19

Uttar Pradesh

5

20

60

20

West Bengal

4

11

39

 

Total

66

187

600

 
2.3. COLLECTION OF DATA

 

The wage rate data, along with rural retail prices are being collected by the Field Operations Division of the National Sample Survey Organisation from 600 sample villages spread over 66 NSS regions of 20 States by convassing Block-5 (Annexure-I) of Schedule 3.01(R). Data collection from these sample villages is staggered over four weeks of a month with one-fourth of them being  covered every week. The days of convassing of Schedule 3.01(R) are fixed. The village functionaries like the Panchayat Secretary, Progress Assistant, Patwari and other Village or Block Officials are the primary informants for data on wage rates.  The data on normal working hours and the prevailing wage rates in cash and kind for the reported working hours are collected sex-wise for each of the 18 selected occupations in 20 states.    

The selected occupations for which daily wage rates are being collected every month are as follows:

A. Agricultural Occupations                        B. Non-agricultural Occupations    

1. Ploughing                                               1. Carpenter

2. Sowing                                                   2. Blacksmith

3. Weeding                                                 3. Cobbler

4.Transplanting                                           4. Mason

5.Harvesting                                               5. Tractor Driver

6.Winnowing                                              6.  Sweeper

7.Threshing                                                 7. Unskilled Labour (un-specified)

8. Picking                                                   

9. Herdsman

   10.Well Digging

   11.Cane Crushing

 

2.4.  PROCESS OF COMPILATION OF AVERAGE WAGE RATES

 

 The data received from the field is posted separately for agricultural and non- agricultural occupations for 20 states every month.   In case the wage rates are reported for a duration of less or more than the normal working hours, then these are first adjusted for eight hours working day.  Payment of wages is made in  cash and/or in kind.  Payments in kind are very common in rural areas which include foodgrains , cooked food, tea, fuel, cigarette, bidi, fodder, etc.  Wages reported in kind are evaluated at the prevailing local retail prices. Thereafter, data is thoroughly scrutinised and discrepancies, if any, are referred  back to the field for clarification. In the next stage, the simple arithmetic average of these normalised daily wage rates is worked out, occupation-wise and sex-wise for each State as follows:

                 

                                         

Where W represents wage and n number of villages in the State.

 

Similarly, the average wage rates at all-India level are derived by dividing the sum total of wages of all the 20 States by the number of quotations.  State-wise averages are restricted only to those occupations where the number of quotations are five or more in order to avoid inconsistency in wages paid to different categories of workers on account of difference in number of quotations. However, for working out all-India averages all those neglected quotations are taken into account to arrive at   total number of quotations at all-India level. At all-India level also, the number of quotations for working out occupation-wise averages are restricted to five or more.

 

The present publication provides wage rate data in respect of 11 agricultural  and  7 non-agricultural occupations for 20 states and all-India for the agricultural year 2006-07. The dash (-) in Tables against various occupations indicate that no wage rate was reported during the reference month for various reasons, such as:

(i)                    either the activity  connected with the occupation was not undertaken in the  State; or

(ii)                  the activity was out of season in the State; or

(iii)                the particular category of workers (i.e. Men/Women/Children) were not engaged  in that operation.