MGNREGS : 4-10% Raise in Rural Job Scheme Wages

In a move that will bring much-needed relief to millions of rural households grappling with rising inflation, the central government announced a revision to MGNREGS wages, effective March 27, 2024. This revision promises a significant boost to livelihoods, with wage hikes ranging from 4% to 10% depending on the state.

State-wise Disparity: A Cause for Concern

The announcement, based on the Consumer Price Index for Agricultural Labour (CPI-AL), highlights the varying economic realities across different states. States with a higher cost of living for agricultural workers received a more substantial hike. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the increase by state:

  • Highest Increase (10%)
    • Andhra Pradesh (Old Wage: Rs. 318, New Wage: Rs. 352)
    • Goa (Old Wage: Rs. 322, New Wage: Rs. 356)
    • Karnataka (Old Wage: Rs. 302, New Wage: Rs. 332)
    • Telangana (Old Wage: Rs. 301, New Wage: Rs. 331)
  • Significant Increase (7-9%)
    • Assam (Old Wage: Rs. 202, New Wage: Rs. 218)
    • Chhattisgarh (Old Wage: Rs. 308, New Wage: Rs. 332)
    • Gujarat (Old Wage: Rs. 212, New Wage: Rs. 228)
    • Haryana (Old Wage: Rs. 293, New Wage: Rs. 315)
    • Kerala (Old Wage: Rs. 350, New Wage: Rs. 378)
    • Madhya Pradesh (Old Wage: Rs. 209, New Wage: Rs. 225)
    • Maharashtra (Old Wage: Rs. 244, New Wage: Rs. 263)
    • Odisha (Old Wage: Rs. 212, New Wage: Rs. 228)
    • Tamil Nadu (Old Wage: Rs. 301, New Wage: Rs. 323)
    • West Bengal (Old Wage: Rs. 278, New Wage: Rs. 301)
  • Modest Increase (4-6%)
    • Bihar (Old Wage: Rs. 202, New Wage: Rs. 212)
    • Jharkhand (Old Wage: Rs. 202, New Wage: Rs. 212)
    • Rajasthan (Old Wage: Rs. 225, New Wage: Rs. 237)
    • Uttar Pradesh (Old Wage: Rs. 230, New Wage: Rs. 237)
    • Uttarakhand (Old Wage: Rs. 230, New Wage: Rs. 237)

This disparity has ignited discussions about the need for a more standardized minimum wage under MGNREGS. While the current system factors in regional variations in living costs, critics argue it fails to ensure a living wage for many rural workers, especially those in low-income states.

Potential for Wider Economic Impact

The MGNREGS wage hike is expected to have a positive ripple effect throughout the rural economy. By increasing disposable income for rural workers, the scheme is likely to stimulate local demand and boost purchasing power. This is particularly beneficial for agricultural workers who face seasonal unemployment and rely on MGNREGS as a safety net. Increased wages can allow them to better afford essential goods and services, invest in their children’s education, and improve their overall standard of living.

Filling the Gap: The Minimum Wage Debate

While the wage hike is a positive step, some critics argue that the disparity between states and the overall increase still leave MGNREGS wages below a minimum living standard in many regions. Discussions surrounding a potential national minimum wage under MGNREGS are likely to continue, with the aim of ensuring a more equitable distribution of benefits for rural workers across India. Experts believe a standardized minimum wage would not only improve livelihoods but also reduce migration from rural to urban areas, promoting a more balanced development across the country.

Looking Ahead: A Need for Further Reform

The recent MGNREGS wage hike is a welcome step towards supporting rural livelihoods. However, it also highlights the ongoing need for further reforms. Here are some key areas to consider:

  • Universal Minimum Wage: Implementing a national minimum wage under MGNREGS would ensure a more equitable distribution of benefits and address the disparity between states.
  • Timely Payment of Wages: Streamlining the payment process can help ensure timely wage disbursal to workers, preventing financial hardship.
  • Expanding Work Opportunities: MGNREGS can be more effectively utilized to create sustainable employment opportunities beyond manual labor, promoting skill development and diversification of the rural economy.
  • Focus on Skill Development: Integrating skill development programs with MGNREGS can empower rural workers and enhance their employability in the long run.


The MGNREGS wage hike offers a glimmer of hope for millions of rural households struggling with rising inflation. However, it also serves as a reminder of the ongoing need for comprehensive reforms to ensure a more secure and prosperous future for India’s rural workforce. By addressing issues like minimum wage disparity, timely payments, and skill development, the government can empower rural communities and promote a more inclusive and equitable development path for the nation.

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