Profits, salaries,wages,prices,money,physical strength


There seems to be wrong notions about wages, prices, investment, development and related issues among the people,political parties, intelligentsia etc.

Some of the wrong/irrational notions are:

i. that if profit is substantial companies’ management can enhance the salaries of top executives exorbitantly rather than think of reducing the prices of products/services in the coming years.( The government should consider imposing a limit on salaries/perquisites of top executives as in the past)

ii. that if there is profit, the companies should share it with employees by giving bonus to them rather than reduce the prices in the coming years or invest the money to produce and employ more

iii.that there should be universal which means additional employment but there should not be inflation

iv.that procurement prices of cereals,milk, eggs etc.should be increased but consumer prices should remain unchanged.

v.that wages of agricultural labourers should keep increasing but prices of vegetables and fruits should not go up

vi.that workers should not be asked to improve productivity but prices of manufactured goods should come down

vii.that wages of workers,drivers,cleaners, engineers,mechanics, office staff etc. should be increased periodically but the train and bus fares, electricity charges,cleaning charges, etc should not be increased

viii.that charges for any service should not be increased but the quality of service should be enhanced.

ix. that people should have more entertainment, comforts, luxuries etc. but need not put in additional labour.
(People do not think that while money not spent on any occasion can be saved and spent on other occasions but physical strength can not be saved for using on some other occasion. It is therefore necessary that one should work as long as possible when the opportunity comes.)

religious,social leaders,writers etc. talk of virtues of people with money giving charity to poor people,but nobody talks of people who are physically strong and healthy, helping physically weak people.

people talk of short duration of prosperity but they do not talk of shorter duration of physical strength.

money not spent can be invested for development, for creating jobs etc. while physical strength not used, for doing work cannot be put to any other use.

Price rise in India


Both the rightist and leftist political parties blame the central government of India for the price rise. Almost all the political parties continuously demand increase in wages of all workers and employees-agricultural workers, textile workers, factory workers, bank employees, government employees, public sector industrial workers etc. and the wages and salaries keep increasing. Not only this, the political parties also demand more regulations on working hours-shorter work time. This means lower production. When production/productivity is low and wages keep increasing, it is natural for prices to keep going up. The prices would have gone up, whichever party had been in power.

 20-30 years ago, one should have been seriously concerned about sufferings of unemployed and under employed people consequent on price rise. But now, the issue before the country is not unemployment or under employment but of shortage or acute shortage of labour on all fronts- agriculture, plantation, industry, construction, service sector, trade, petty business, domestic work etc. The labour shortage is felt both in urban and rural areas. If the employment exchanges show increasing number of registrations, it is only due to unwillingness of people to take up jobs which do not require their educational qualification. If prices increase, people can think of taking up available jobs, working over time, doing two jobs (one full time work for 6 hours and one part time work for 2-3 hours. Agricultural workers and others in rural areas work only for 5-6 hours). This will incidentally minimize the labour shortage.

Longevity has gone up. Pensioners are getting pension for longer period now than before. One way of curtailing price rise will be to increase the age of retirement by about 5 years thereby increasing the availability of workforce.

School education could be curtailed by 1-2 years and university education by six months-one year. This will make available more number of people for work which will increase production.

In this connection, it may be relevant to mention that the government while prescribing minimum wages for workers in particular sectors should fix wages per hour instead of per day.

Why should a lazy person be rewarded


The new Railway Minister of India, Ms. Mamata Banerjee, announced a special pass for those earning less than Rs.500 per month. The special costs Rs.20 to travel 100 km. Now the question is, why should anyone be earning less than Rs.500 per month? For unskilled males, the wages are about Rs.200 per day and for unskilled females, it is Rs.80- Rs.100 per day with one meal. A male worker can earn Rs.2,000 a month by working for 10 days. Similarly a female worker can earn up to Rs.1,000 for 10 days work.

The factories in towns and farms in rural areas are facing acute shortage of labour. Then why should a person not work for at least 10 days if not for 25 days? If a person is lazy enough not to go for work, should the Railways encourage him not to work, by offering him concessional tickets? One can understand special passes for the aged, sick and handicapped but not for people who are fit but are lazy, not to earn Rs.500 a month.

High wages and national loss


In certain parts of Tamilnadu, the wages for agricultural and other unskilled workers have increased by about 100% in the last three years. Workers, who used to get Rs.70 per day for 5 hours of work, demand and get Rs.150 per day. Wages for harvesting sugar cane (the process of cutting grown cane) have gone up to over Rs. 350 a tonne. This is more than 25% of the price which farmers will receive for 1 tonne of sugar cane. One would expect that the monthly earning and standard of life of the workers have gone up. But unfortunately it has not. What has happened is that workers who used to go for work for 10 to 12 days a month are now working for only 5 to 6 days a month. Thus the total earnings per month remains more or less the same.

On the other hand farmers have started keeping larger area fallow, for want of affordable agricultural labor which, makes agriculture unremunerative. The overall agricultural production has not gone up. In some cases, production is coming down at such a scale that in the foreseeable future, India may have to import very large quantities of agricultural produce. Keeping agricultural land fallow is a great national loss.

Very often farmers do not harvest the crops and leave the produce in the land. This happens when the prices of vegetables drop to around Rs. 1 per kg but the wages remain at Rs. 150 per day. Classic examples are tomatoes and radish. This is a tragic loss, not only to the farmers but also to the nation.

The prices of agricultural produce and wages for workers should be fixed that one has to work for about 15 days a month for meeting his essential requirements of food, clothing and housing and another 10-15 days for non-essential expenditure like entertainment, electrical household gadgets, mechanized transport, education of children in private schools, medical treatment from private doctors, holiday tours, purchase of jewellery etc. The quality of life of the people will go up and the national income will rise.