Living Wage Series - India - December 2018 - In Indian Rupee, per Month

The Living Wage is based on the concept that work should provide an adequate income to cover the necessary living costs of a family. WageIndicator uses prices from the Cost of Living Survey to calculate Living Wage in more than 60 countries. The Living Wage is an approximate income needed to meet a family’s basic needs including food, housing, transport, health, education, tax deductions and other necessities.

The following table summarises the varying expenditure and income needs for the three commonly occurring family household compositions.

Expenditure and Living Wage calculation (monthly rates in Indian Rupee)

  Typical family Standard family Single-adult
  from-to from-to from-to
Food 6690-8290 5950-7370 1490-1840
Housing 8000-12000 8000-12000 3340-5760
Transport 1000-1600 1000-1600 500-800
Health 1000-2000 1000-2000 250-500
Education 2000-3000 2000-3000 0
Other costs 935-1350 895-1300 280-445
Total Expenditure 19625-28240 18845-27270 5860-9345
Net Living Wage 12266-17650 10469-15150 5860-9345
Gross Living Wage 13500-19400 11500-16700 6450-10300

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.


Family Living Wages (monthly rates in Indian Rupee)

There is not a single answer to what is the adequate cost of living. The result is complex, as the cost of living varies by household composition, location, and employment pattern. The following table presents the Living Wage estimates for a set of most common family household compositions and under different assumptions about working hours.

Typical family (two parents + 2.5 children, 1.6 working) 13500-19400
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 11500-16700
Two parents and two children, 2 working 10400-15000
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 13800-20000
Two parents and two children, 1 working 20700-30000
Two parents and three children, 1.6 working 14000-20100
Two parents and four children, 1.6 working 15100-21400
Single-adult without children, 1 working 6450-10300

Note: Results in the table are rounded.


Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in Indian Rupee)

The Minimum Wage is a national legally binding obligation on employers which often make no reference to a living standard. Living Wage describes the adequate living standard. The common goal of the many living wage campaigns currently taking place all over the world is to lift Minimum Wages levels to those of the Living Wages. WageIndicator presents Living Wages jointly with Minimum Wages, aiming to raise awareness concerning the remaining differences in levels. Living Wages are presented in context with other wage indicators including prevailing wages of workers over recent years.

  2015 2016 2017 2018
Minimum wage 3562 3562 4162 4162
Living Wage - Single Adult 6470-10300 6420-10200 6420-10100 6450-10300
Living Wage - Typical Family 13600-19700 13400-19400 13400-19200 13500-19400
Real wage of low-skilled worker 9680-13300 8450-11500 8310-11500 8990-12200
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 14500-22200 14300-21900 13700-21200 13700-21100
Real wage of high-skilled worker 29400-47100 29500-47500 27600-44900 28800-46400

Note: Table shows the lowest monthly Minimum Wage in a country, when available. Reported monthly earnings of workers in low-, medium-, and high-skilled occupations are obtained from the voluntary WageIndicator web survey on work and wages. Results in the table are rounded.

India Graph

Food basket and food prices in Indian Rupee

The food expenditure is the main component of Living Wage and it is determined by the price of food basket. The food prices are taken from WageIndicator Cost of Living Survey which collects the actual prices of all items necessary to calculate the Living Wage. The composition of the food basket is taken from the national food balance sheets published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The food basket is scaled to 2,100 calories per person per day that is the nutritional requirement for good health proposed by World Bank (Handbook on poverty and inequality, 2009).

Food item Grams per day Energy (kcal) Price per kilo
Wheat, barley and cereals products 175 545 40-50
Rice 167 606 35-44
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 10 14 199-250
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 19 162 89-100
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 79 206 35-40
Maize and products 15 46 30-50
Milk - Excluding Butter 204 113 38-40
Vegetables, Other 150 36 40-50
Potatoes and products 59 40 20-21
Butter, Ghee 7 62 300-400
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 20 35 80-104
Pulses, Other and products 24 85 80-100
Cassava and products 13 11 25-50
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 6 9 42-50
Sunflowerseed Oil 2 19 90-100
Fish products 12 8 200-300
Beer (0.5 liter/pint) 1 1 178-220
Sweeteners, Other 0 1 33-40
Beans 7 25 45-60
Sweet potatoes 2 2 25-35
Bananas 42 26 30-40
Soyabeans 1 4 60-80
Apples and products 4 2 100-120
Tomatoes and products 31 5 25-30
Onions 32 12 25-35
Oranges, Mandarines 11 3 50-70
Peas 3 11 50-80
Seeds and kernels 3 8 86-100
Wine (bottle) 0 0 333-533
Pineapples and products 3 1 44-56
Cream 0 0 133-240
Olives (including preserved) 0 0 180-300
Honey 0 0 200-280
Citrus, Other 1 0 50-80
Lemons, Limes and products 4 1 50-70
Tea (including mate) 2 1 250-300
Grapefruit and products 1 0 60-80
Coffee and products 0 0 300-450


WageIndicator Living Wage background:

The WageIndicator Living Wage is set to provide acceptable living standard to a family of a particular size. WageIndicator presents Living Wages for several household types and working hours which reflect the most frequently found real situations in which people have to make a living: 1. Typical family Living Wage is a baseline estimate that respects the country specific conditions. Typical family is comprised of two adults and the number of children is given by country specific fertility rate (the average number of children a woman is expected to have during her lifespan). One adult is working full-time and the working hours of second adult are approximated by national employment rate. The total income earned by two adults paid living wage is sufficient to reach adequate living standard. 2. Standard family Living Wage is estimated for a family composed of two adults and two children (referred to as family 2+2). Living wage is calculated under different assumptions about working hours. These include that both adults work full-time (family employment rate is 2), or at least one adult works part-time or half-time (family employment rate is 1.8 and 1.5), or one adult does not work at all (i.e. patriarchal model with family employment 1). Alternatives refer to trade-offs between leisure and work and define what living wage represents. In every case the total income earned by two adults paid living wage is sufficient to reach adequate living standard. 3. Extended family Living Wage includes family with three or four children. One adult works full-time and the work intensity of second parent is approximated by national employment rate. 4. Individual Living Wage represents an acceptable standard of living for a single individual working full-time.

Data sources: WageIndicator Cost of Living Survey, World Bank Databank Fertility rate 2010-2014, ILO Estimated participation rate in 2017, FAO Food balance sheet in 2013.

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