Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade row: Salary of embassy staff in India based upon prevailing local wages, says US

Written by PTI | Washington | Updated: Jan 2 2014, 17:24pm hrs
US-India tiesDevyani Khobragade row puts the issue of salaries paid to employees in the US embassy and consulates in India on front burner.
In the wake of the Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade row, the US has said that the salary of its embassy staff in countries around the world, including India, is based on prevailing wages in conjunction with the local law.

"Generally, compensation plans for locally employed staff at US Missions abroad are based upon prevailing wage rates and compensation practices for corresponding types of positions in the employment locality," a State Department Spokesperson said yesterday.

The spokesperson was responding to a question on whether the US Embassy complies with local wage laws.

The issue of salaries paid to employees in the US embassy and consulates in India came to the fore after senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade was arrested in New York on December 12 on charges of making false declarations in a visa application for her maid Sangeeta Richard.

Subsequently, she was strip searched and held in jail with drug addicts and criminals which triggered a row between the US and India. Khobragade, 39, was released on a USD 250,000 bond.

Following the arrest of Devyani Khobragade, India has sought details of salaries of the Indians working at the American Embassy in New Delhi and its other diplomatic missions.

According to information available, Indian staff working at US Embassies including cooks and drivers are paid between an amount of Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 (USD 200 to 250) which is below the minimum wage of USD 9.47 per hour applicable in New York or in any other US city.

However people close to the US embassy is of the opinion that despite current negative reporting in India, the embassy is generous in the matters related to compensation to local employees.