Living Wage Series - India - September 2019 - 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 70 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 INR)

  Typical family Standard family Single-adult
  from-to from-to from-to
Food expenses 7120-9120 6470-8290 1620-2070
Housing expenses 9000-13500 9000-13500 4000-6480
Transport expenses 1000-2000 1000-2000 500-1000
Healthcare expenses 1000-2000 1000-2000 250-500
Education expenses 2000-3000 2000-3000 0
Other expenses 1010-1480 975-1440 320-505
Total Expenditure 21130-31100 20445-30230 6690-10555
Net Living Wage 14087-20733 11358-16794 6690-10555
Gross Living Wage 15500-22800 12500-18500 7360-11600

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.


Family Living Wages (monthly rates in INR)

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 + 2.4 children, 1.5 working) 15500-22800
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 12500-18500
Two parents and two children, 2 working 11300-16600
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 15000-22200
Two parents and two children, 1 working 22500-33300
Two parents and three children, 1.5 working 16300-23800
Two parents and four children, 1.5 working 17500-25300
Single-adult without children, 1 working 7360-11600

Note: Results in the table are rounded.


Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in INR)

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.

  2016 2017 2018 2019
Minimum wage 3562 4162 4162 4162
Living Wage - Single Adult 6610-10600 6610-10600 6840-10900 7360-11600
Living Wage - Typical Family 14000-20900 14000-20900 14700-21800 15500-22800
Real wage of low-skilled worker 9250-12500 8720-12000 9210-12400 9740-13600
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 14400-21800 13400-20700 13400-20300 14400-22500
Real wage of high-skilled worker 29400-47800 27100-44600 28400-45800 30000-50100

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.


Food basket and food prices in INR

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 34-60
Rice 167 606 35-42
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 10 14 180-220
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 19 162 100-105
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 79 206 30-33
Maize and products 15 46 50-55
Milk - Excluding Butter 204 113 35-40
Vegetables, Other 150 36 40-50
Potatoes and products 59 40 18-20
Butter, Ghee 7 62 -
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 20 35 90-130
Pulses, Other and products 24 85 80-100
Cassava and products 13 11 25-45
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 6 9 42-50
Sunflowerseed Oil 2 19 100-120
Fish products 12 8 200-300
Beer (0.5 liter/pint) 1 1 180-200
Sweeteners, Other 0 1 33-40
Beans 7 25 40-60
Sweet potatoes 2 2 25-40
Bananas 42 26 40-50
Soyabeans 1 4 60-91
Apples and products 4 2 100-120
Tomatoes and products 31 5 20-30
Onions 32 12 30-40
Oranges, Mandarines 11 3 50-80
Peas 3 11 50-80
Seeds and kernels 3 8 86-100
Wine (bottle) 0 0 333-560
Pineapples and products 3 1 -
Cream 0 0 160-250
Olives (including preserved) 0 0 180-300
Honey 0 0 200-280
Lemons, Limes and products 4 1 50-70
Tea (including mate) 2 1 180-290
Grapefruit and products 1 0 85-100
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.

WageIndicator useful links:

Publication Guzi, M., & Kahanec, M. (2019). Estimating Living Wage Globally. Amsterdam, WageIndicator Foundation
WageIndicator Wages in Context Map with the latest updates
All You Always wanted to Know about Living Wages