The Ministry of Labour on November 24 released a new series of Wage Rate Index (WRI) with base year 2016 being compiled and maintained by the Labour Bureau -- an attached office of the ministry.
The new series of WRI with base 2016=100 will replace the old series with base 1963-65, a labour ministry statement said.
The government periodically revises the base year for major economic indicators to reflect the changes in the economy and to capture the wage pattern of workers, it said.
Thus, as per the recommendations of the International Labour Organization, National Statistical Commission etc, the base year of WRI numbers has been revised from 1963-65 to 2016 by the Labour Bureau to enhance the coverage and to make the index more representative.
The new series of WRI has increased the scope and coverage in terms of the number of industries, sample size, occupations under selected industries, weightage of industries, etc.
Professor SP Mukherjee and other members of the expert group on Minimum Wages and National Floor Wages were of the opinion that this base revision of WRI will play a critical role in coming out with minimum wages and national floor wages along with other parameters which will be decided in due course of time by the expert group.
The new WRI series would be compiled twice a year on a point-to-point half-yearly basis, as on January 1 and July 1 of every year.
The weighting diagram in the new WRI series has been prepared from the results of the Occupational Wage Survey (seventh) round.
Total 37 industries have been covered in the new WRI basket as against 21 industries in the 1963-65 series.
The selected 37 industries in the new series are categorized as 30 industries from the manufacturing sector, four industries from the mining sector, and three industries from the plantation sector.
The earlier series had 14 industries from the manufacturing sector, four from the mining sector and three from the plantation sector.
In the new WRI basket, the current wage data has been collected from 2,881 units under 37 selected industries as against 1,256 units under 21 industries in the old series.
About 700 occupations have been covered under 37 selected industries in the new series of WRI.
The weights used in the WRI series in both series were the base year estimated employment figures in respective occupations in each selected industry.
The weighted average of the occupation level indices in an industry, weights being the base year estimated total employment bill in each occupation, gives WRI at the industry level.
Similarly, the weighted average of the industry/sector level indices, weights being the base year estimated total employment bill in each industry/sector, gives the sectoral/All-India Index.
The sector level weights under the new series have changed in comparison to the old series. The weight of the manufacturing sector has increased substantially over time whereas the weight of the plantation sector and the mining sector has declined under the new series vis-a-vis the old one.
A total of 16 new manufacturing industries have been added to the new series of WRI basket, including synthetic textiles, textile garments, printing and publishing, footwear, petroleum, chemical & gases, fertilisers, drugs, medicines, among others.
In the new series, the oil mining industry has been introduced in the basket in place of the mica mines industry, to make the mining sector more representative of the three different kinds of mining namely coal, metal, and oil.
Total three plantation industries namely tea, coffee and rubber have been retained in the new WRI basket with enhanced coverage.