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Govt to launch drive on minimum wages 

The Hindu , Jun 09, 2017

The Delhi government will be launching a month-long publicity drive to make businessmen and labourers aware of the increased minimum wages it had notified in March.

Labour Minister Gopal Rai said on Thursday that an awareness drive would be carried out from June 13 to July 13 in order to publicise the new minimum wages, ahead of a High Court hearing in the matter on July 12.

Industries up in arms

After getting the approval of Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal, the government had notified increased minimum wages for all categories of workers on March 3. But, the full implementation of the new wages had been held up as industry bodies moved court against it. While the High Court did not put a stay on the new wages, it told the government not to take coercive action against those who did not pay workers the hiked salaries till a hearing on September 11.

Mr. Rai reiterated that there was no stay on the notification and that the government would interact with industry bodies like the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry to address their concerns.

Mr. Rai also said that the government had approved the annual hike in dearness allowance (DA) with effect from April 1. The minimum monthly wages for unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled and graduate and above workers were increased to Rs. 13,584, Rs. 14,958, Rs. 16,468 and Rs. 17,916, respectively.

“We are also setting up a total of 20 minimum wages task forces that will work in the nine districts of Delhi. These will conduct surprise checks in the city,” said Mr. Rai.

While the new minimum wages have not been enforced in the private sector fully, the Delhi government has implemented it for its own departments.

Health dept warned

“Out of the 202 departments where contract workers are used, 201 have started paying the new wages. We have received complaints that the Health Department is not paying the wages in some hospitals. The Labour Department and the Chief Minister have given the department a warning,” said Mr. Rai.

The Labour Department has also set up a helpline for workers— 155214.