T N Ninan: The minimum wage temptation

T N Ninan: The minimum wage temptation: It is easy to imagine the danger to an employment-intensive industry like garments, which faces wage competition from Bangladesh...

Wage and remuneration

This refers to your editorial “The minimum wage temptation” (Business Standard, Weekend ruminations, September 17). By coincidence, the report “Proxy advisory company finds Sun’s pay cheque for Kavery Kalanithi ‘excessive’” appeared in Business Standard on the same day.
The concern expressed about high level of wages affecting cultivation (not just paddy, it affects entire farm and plantation sectors) in Kerala is real. Kerala’s dependence on ‘less fortunate’ states for workers and the possibility of such workers outnumbering the Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs) are issues being discussed in that state. As regards protection of environment or the damage caused by wetland to dryland, these issues get exaggerated by certain constituencies for different purposes.
If existing laws get implemented, Kerala will be environmentally safe for decades to come. Kerala’s environment protection problems are more related to management of the state’s forests and rivers than paddy fields and plantation crops. Taking necessary measures to prevent the damage to ecosystems and ‘natural drainage systems’ should be made the sole responsibility of those who develop land for commercial purposes. While land is parcelled off to builders and corporates, government retains the responsibility of inhabitants and drainage/environment protection which should at least be shared by those who use the land for commercial purposes.
Coming to the report* on excessive remuneration siphoned off by some in private sector, time is running out for government to have a comprehensive review of wages, income and prices policy. There is no doubt that excessive regulation will stifle economic growth. But where corporates, or for that matter citizens, refuse to be guided
by some socially acceptable norms and impose some self-regulation in profit-sharing and remuneration practices, government will have to enforce guidelines on remuneration and use of surplus incomes irrespective of whether the malpractices observed are in public sector or private sector as both the sectors depend on ‘public funds’ or common man’s savings for resources.

M G Warrier, Mumbai

*Please see next post.


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