Veteran journalist T N Ninan on Sunday said inequality at the workplace is becoming a national trend as companies and the government are increasingly hiring contract workers.
Delivering a lecture on the topic ”The cost of rising inequality” at the Delhi Diocese of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church here, Ninan, who is also an independent director of the Press Trust of India, said the number of contract workers in government establishments such as the railways has doubled to 2.43 millions in four years.
”Every fourth railway worker is now on contract,” he said.
States appoint school teachers on contract and the starting salary is just Rs 7,500 while it announced that minimum wage would be Rs 18,000.
”Inequality at workplace is becoming a national trend. It is not a small thing. Everywhere, (private) companies and even governments are increasingly hiring contract workers and not putting people on regular payrolls,” he said.
He said the answer to inequality is the creation of good-quality jobs and a country of India’s size and ability can certainly do it. ”Jobs can give more money than any other welfare system.” Ninan said that though there has been an improvement in terms of equality in education, gender and life expectancy in India, the inequality in income and wealth is growing.
”The share of wealth owned by top 10 per cent people has gone up and that of the bottom 20 per cent has gone down.
”Perhaps half the people working in the country get less than the official minimum wage… The number of people looking for work under the MNREGA programme has double in just few years. And the gap between the top and the bottom is growing,” he said.
Ninan stressed that poverty and inequality are two different concepts and it is the inequality in income and wealth that is growing.
”The per capital income in Bihar is less than one-fifth of that in Tamil Nadu. Statistics show that the per capita income in Bihar is rising, but inequality between the poor states and rich states has grown,” he said.
There are no easy answers to this kind of geographical inequality within the same country, said Ninan, who is also the chair of the Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)