New Delhi: With Lok Sabha elections less than two years away, the Congress-led UPA government has hiked daily wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) scheme, to ensure compliance with minimum wages prevailing in states for agricultural labour. The wages will come into effect from 1st April.

Daily wage was increased from Rs 2 to Rs 20. However, the revised wages will differ from state to state. Now, the MNREGA wages will be amended every year on the basis of Consumer Price Index (CPI) of agricultural laborers.

The Centre will also introduce an amendment to the MNREGA Act in the ongoing Budget Session to ensure that there is no disparity with the minimum wages.

After introducing the notification in the Parliament Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said, while talking to reporters that laborers would get adequate wages under this provision. Karnataka labourers would get most benefit whereas it would be least profitable for Odisha and Jharkhand labourers.

MNREGA workers in Uttar Pradesh are getting Rs 120 as daily wages presently which will be increased to Rs 125 from next financial year. Likely, daily wages in Bihar will be increased from Rs 120 to Rs 122, Rs 179 to Rs 191 in Haryana, Rs 119 to Rs 132 in Rajasthan and Rs 153 to Rs 166 in Punjab. A wage hike of Rs 10 and Rs one was made in Jharkhand and Odisha respectively. MNREGA wages have been raised to 122 from 120 in deprived state like Jharkhand whereas in a state like Karnataka wage has been increased to Rs 155 from Rs 125. Daily wage in Uttarakhand will now be Rs 125 with Rs 5 raise.

Ramesh said that increase in daily wages under MNREGA will put an additional burden of Rs 500 crore on the central exchequer. He further added that for the first time government has decided to increase the MNREGA wages by an annual amendment on 14th January 2011.