The Gig Economy in India refers to the trend of individuals working temporary or flexible jobs, often through online platforms such as Uber, Ola, Swiggy, and Zomato.
Recently, a public interest lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court by the Indian Federation of App-based Transport Workers on behalf of gig workers.
The petition has demanded that food delivery platforms like Zomato and Swiggy and taxi aggregator apps like Ola and Uber provide social security benefits to workers.
(हाल ही में गिग वर्कर्स की ओर से इंडियन फेडरेशन ऑफ ऐप आधारित ट्रांसपोर्ट वर्कर्स ने सुप्रीम कोर्ट में एक जनहित याचिका दायर की थी।
याचिका में मांग की गई है कि Zomato और Swiggy जैसे फूड डिलीवरी प्लेटफॉर्म और Ola और Uber जैसे टैक्सी एग्रीगेटर ऐप से श्रमिकों को सामाजिक सुरक्षा लाभ प्रदान किया जाए।)
The gig economy is a free market system in which organizations hire or contract workers for short periods of time.
Startups such as Ola, Uber, Zomato, and Swiggy have established themselves as the mainstays of the gig economy in India.
According to the Code on Social Security, 2020 (India), “A gig worker is a person who works or participates in work arrangements outside the traditional employer-employee relationship and earns from such activities.”
They are independent contractors, online platform workers, contract firm workers, on-call workers, and temporary workers.
The size of the gig economy in India
- A NITI Aayog study on “India’s growing gig and platform economy” estimated that about 47 percent of gig workers are currently in medium-skilled jobs, about 22 percent in high-skilled, and about 31 percent in low-skilled jobs. in skilled jobs.
- These figures clearly show the importance of the gig working community in the Indian economy.
- Research studies by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) have found that gig economy participation is higher in developing countries (5–12 percent) versus developed economies (1–4 percent).
- Most of these jobs are in low-income job types such as delivery, ridesharing, microtasks, and care services.
- These studies estimate that 77 lakh workers were associated with the gig economy in 2020-21.
- The gig workforce is expected to grow to 2.35 crore employees by 2029-30.
Average age/income of gig workers in India
The average age of Indian gig workers is 27 years and their average monthly income is Rs 18,000.
About 71 percent of these are the sole breadwinners of their families. Additionally, gig workers work with an average household size of 4.4.
Challenges Faced by Gig Workers
Low wages, unequal gender participation, and lack of possibility of upward mobility within an organization.
Gig workers are usually hired by companies on a contract basis and are not considered their employees.
As a result, they do not get some of the benefits of an on-roll employee of the company.
This means they often do not receive benefits such as paid sick and casual leave, travel and housing allowance, and provident fund savings, among other things.
Measures to improve the standard of living of gig workers
Financial incentives such as tax exemptions or startup grants may be provided for businesses that provide livelihood opportunities where women make up a substantial portion of their workforce.
This was highlighted by NITI Aayog in its report “India’s Booming Gig and Platform Economy”.
The report also recommended that companies adopt policies that offer old age or retirement plans and benefits, and another insurance cover for contingencies such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
Such schemes and policies may be envisaged under the Social Security Code, 2020.
Businesses should consider providing income support to workers.
This will be a significant step towards providing assured minimum earnings and social security against loss of income in the wake of uncertainty or irregularity in work.
It also suggested providing paid sick leave to employees in addition to insurance coverage.
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