New Delhi: Defending his government's decision to hike minimum wages in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said money in the hands of the poor and middle class will benefit the country's economy.
Kejriwal said it was to be seen whether BJP and Congress show the courage to take similar decisions in the states ruled by them. The Chief Minister was addressing a gathering of labour unions at his residence.
"I told those who are threatening to strike work and shut industries that overall business is anyways bleak across the country since no one has money in hand. When money will reach the poor, it will have a positive effect on the economy as demand and subsequently consumption will rise," Kejriwal said.
Interestingly, ruling AAP's trade wing has warned of a strike in Delhi in case the decision to raise wages is not withdrawn. It is also going to raise the issue with Lt Governor Najeeb Jung.
"Policies have to benefit the poor. There will be an escalation of cost, no doubt, but in the middle term and long term it will benefit everyone when money will reach the middle class and poor," Kejriwal said.
Kejriwal alleged that government policies are "deliberately" framed to ensure profit for few families in the country, leading to "deepening" chasm in the society and spike in unemployment and crime.
"We will have to implement it in Delhi and then raise our voice across the country. I urge Modiji to care for the people. If the Centre wants then it can implement the same across the country in one go," he said.
Kejriwal had announced the government's decision to raise wages in his Independence Day speech. As per the proposal, the minimum wage for unskilled person will be Rs 14,052 against the existing Rs 9,568 in the national capital. Besides, the same for semi-skilled and skilled persons will increase from Rs 10,582 to Rs 15,471 and from Rs 11,622 to 17,033 respectively.