In a remarkable move, President Ram Nath Kovind has given his approval to the Delhi government’s proposed bill to amend the Minimum Wages Act (1948). The amended bill promises to ensure that workers, whether unskilled, semi-skilled or skilled, get paid full wages by their employers.
Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, took to Twitter to applaud this move. “Finally, Central Govt gives its approval after several months. This will act as a strong deterrent against those employers who do not pay full min wages. Del govt will take strong action against such people,” he said.
According to the Times of India, the current minimum wages in the National Capital are Rs 13,350 per month for unskilled workers, Rs 14,698 for semi-skilled workers and Rs 16,182 for skilled workers. In several cases, however, the employers refuse to pay the workers their minimum wage.
Since there is a high possibility that unskilled workers are illiterate, they may not know their right to the minimum wages or what the rates are. This makes it easy for their employers to cheat them.
However, since the Central Government has approved the amendments to the act, the punishment will be more severe.
For example, before the amendment, under section 22A, the violator of the act was slapped with a fine of merely Rs 500. This has been updated to Rs 20,000 along with a jail term of one year.
Here are some highlight amendments to the Minimum Wages (Delhi) Amendment Bill, 2017.
1. In Section 22A of Act 11 of 1948, the words “shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both,” will be substituted by “shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term of three years, or with fine of fifty thousand rupees, or with both.”
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2. In Section 22A of Act 11 of 1948, the words “with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees” will be substituted with “with imprisonment for a term of one year, or with fine twenty thousand rupees or with both.”
3. The amendment also demands that the employers pay their workers by depositing the money in their bank accounts, electronically or with a cheque. This will help to track the records of the payment as opposed to the cash payment, where there is no concrete way of keeping a record.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)