Variable Dearness Allowance Hike (Cenral): 1.5 Crore Workers To Benefit As Minimum Wage Raised

The ministry of labour and employment on Friday announced a hike in the variable dearness allowance (VDA) for workers in the railway administration, mines, oil fields, ports and other sectors in the central government. The move is expected to benefit about 1.5 crore workers.

The hike, effective retrospectively from April 1, 2021, will range from Rs 105 per day to Rs 210 per day, depending on a worker’s occupation and geographical location, and will also have a resultant impact on minimum wages for workers.
The VDA is similar to the dearness allowance for government employees.

The government’s revised wages notification will be applicable to establishments such as the railway administration, mines, oil fields, major ports or all corporations established by the Central government.

Contractual & casual workers also entitled to hike in VDA
The hike will also be applicable equally to all contractual and casual workers. The cumulative hike is expected to be in the range of Rs 2,000 and Rs 5,000 per month.

While unskilled mine workers will draw Rs 431 per day, those working underground will be eligible to receive VDA at the rate of Rs 539 per day. In contrast, highly skilled mine workers working on ground will now draw Rs 752 a day and highly skilled mine workers working underground will be eligible to get Rs 840 per day as VDA.

Revision of VDA has also been done for agriculture workers across skill categories, building and construction workers. ‘Sweeping and cleaning’ workers, ‘watch and ward’ workers and workers working for loading and unloading works are also eligible for the pay revisions.

A statement from the labour ministry said it has notified and revised the rate of VDA with effect from April 1, 2021. Union labour and employment minister Santosh Gangwar said the hike in VDA will support these workers particularly in the backdrop of the economic pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The VDA, the government added, was revised on the basis of average Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW), and the ministry took the average CPI-IW for the months of July to December 2020 to revise the VDA. The enforcement of the Minimum Wages Act in the central sphere, the government said, is ensured through the offices of the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central).

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