Is Kerala becoming the 'gulf' for domestic migrant labourers? Even as the state debates if the increasing influx of domestic immigrants is a welcome trend, data released by the Labour Department of India explains why Kerala is becoming the favorite destination for migrant labourers. According to the data for the month of April 2015, Kerala paid the highest wage to both men and women labourers in almost all daily wage jobs in agricultural and non-agricultural sector. Kerala’s average wage is nearly double the average wage of the country. For agricultural work like ploughing and tilling, the average daily wage in Kerala was more than Rs 713, followed by Tamil Nadu at Rs 515. The lowest wage being paid in the country was Rs 187. States like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Odisha paid wages in the vicinity of Rs 200. Here are top three states. (Wages in rupees) After Kerala and Jammu Kashmir, Tamil Nadu is the state with highest wages in India. The wages for non-agricultural work is also much higher in Kerala. Carpenters and plumbers get wages which are two times the national wage average for their profession. The data shows that while the average wage ranges between Rs 200 and Rs 300 for different professions in states across the country, Kerala does not pay below Rs 600 for any job. On the other hand, however, National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data shows that Kerala has the highest unemployment rate in the country. According to the last NSSO Survey (2011-2012), in the category of major states, Kerala has the highest Unemployment Rate (UR). Kerala’s unemployment level is at 7.4 % , while in other states it is below 4%. Even though the rate has declined over the years, a whopping 50 lakh people are estimated to be unemployed in the state. The unemployment rate is lowest in Gujarat, at 0.5 per cent is in Gujarat. However, Gujarat is a low paying state on daily wages. Reading the two reports together, one can infer that while migrant labours are attracted by the daily wages, the natives are not opting for these jobs. Literacy and higher levels of education too has contributed to this.
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