NITI Aayog recently launched a report titled ‘India’s Booming Gig and Platform Economy’.
- The report broadly classifies gig workers — those engaged in livelihoods outside the traditional employer-employee arrangement — into platform and non-platform-based workers.
- Platform workers are those whose work is based on online software apps or digital platforms.
- Non-platform gig workers are generally casual wage workers and own-account workers in the conventional sectors, working part-time or full time.
- The ‘platformization’ of work has given rise to a new classification of labour — platform labour —falling outside of the purview of the traditional dichotomy of formal and informal labour.
- These platform workers are termed as “independent contractors” and as a result, they cannot access many aspects of workplace protection, and entitlements.
- The number of workers engaged in the gig economy is estimated to be 77 lakh in 2020-21.
- Gig workforce in the country is expected to grow to 2.35 crore by 2029-30.
- At present, about 47% of gig work is in medium skilled jobs, about 22% in high skilled, and about 31% in low skilled jobs.
- Concentration of workers in medium skills is gradually declining and that of the low skilled and high skilled is increasing.
- In 2020-21, the gig workforce constituted 2.6% of the non-agricultural workforce or 1.5% of the total workforce in India.
- By 2029-30, gig workers are expected to form 6.7% of the non-agricultural workforce or 4.1% of the total livelihood workforce.
Recommendation of the Report
- India requires a framework that balances the flexibility offered by platforms while also ensuring social security of workers.
- Measures should be taken to provide for social security, including paid leave, occupational disease and work accident insurance, support during irregularity of work and pension plans.
- It recommended introducing a ‘Platform India initiative’, on the lines of the ‘Startup India initiative’, built on the pillars of accelerating platformisation by simplification and handholding, funding support and incentives, skill development, and social financial inclusion.
- Access to institutional credit may be enhanced through financial products specifically designed for platform workers.
- Venture capital funding, grants and loans from banks and other funding agencies should be provided to platform businesses of all sizes at the pre-revenue and early-revenue stages.
- Gender sensitisation and accessibility awareness programmes for workers and their families.
- Extend social security measures for such workers and their families in partnership mode as envisaged in the Code on Social Security.
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