Niti Aayog Bats For Gig Workers – Suggests Paid Sick Leave, Insurance and Pension Plans

On June 27, NITI Aayog released a report on “India’s Booming Gig and Platform Economy.” The report presents comprehensive insights and recommendations on the gig economy in India.

In the report, NITI Aayog suggested that companies such as Ola, Uber, Swiggy, Zomato – which had introduced paid sick leave, healthcare access and insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic – could adopt them in as part of their workplace policies covering all workers they hire throughout the year.

The report was released by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, Vice President Suman Bery and Special Secretary Dr. K. Rajeswara Rao.

The report offered a few other suggestions for social security for gig and platform workers in India:

1. Occupational illness and work accident insurance: Provide accident insurance to all delivery partners and drivers, and to other platform workers across the country in collaboration with the private sector or the government, as provided for by the Social Security Code , 2020.

2. Retirement/retirement plans and other benefits.

3. Support for workers in a situation of irregular work.

4. Support small businesses and entrepreneurs associated with platforms: Extend interest-free business advances and deferred repayment terms to protect gig workers, the self-employed, and small businesses engaged with them.

5. Provident cover from a corpus fund.

The Indian workforce and the spread of the sector

The report estimated that India had 68 lakh gig workers in FY20 and 77 lakh in the next FY. The headcount is expected to reach 2.35 crores by FY 2029-30. Indian gig workers are expected to make up 6.7% of the non-farm workforce and 4.1% of the total workforce in India by FY30, the report said.

The report said there were 26.6 lakh gig workers in retail and sales, 13 lakh in the transportation sector, 6.2 lakh in manufacturing and 6.3 lakh in finance and business activities. ‘insurance.

However, there is no official data to authoritatively estimate the extent of gig work in India, thus rendering the labor force invisible.

Challenges faced by gig workers

Accessibility: Access to internet services as well as digital technology can be a limiting factor, making the gig economy largely an urban phenomenon.

Job and income precariousness: Most workers are not classified as employees with income security and social protection, so they lack work and income security as well as professional identity.

Occupational safety and health risks: Studies show that on-demand workers, especially women working in the app-based taxi and delivery industries, face various occupational safety and health risks such as road safety, the possibility theft and physical assault, discrimination or harassment.

Skills mismatch: According to ILO surveys, workers with a high level of education do not necessarily find a job corresponding to their skills.

Challenges encountered due to contract terms, weak collectivization: Working conditions that are largely governed by terms of service agreements cannot access many workplace protections and rights. Moreover, since workers seldom meet or meet, it becomes difficult for them to form collective bargaining associations.

Stress: Workers are likely to be stressed due to the pressures resulting from algorithmic management practices and performance assessment based on ratings.

The report also made recommendations for government, civil society, allied businesses and non-profit organizations regarding the concert platform. They are the following:

  • Ensure universal coverage for platform workers via the Social Security Code.
  • Address skills gaps by conducting periodic assessments and partnering with platform companies for the integration of skilled women and people with disabilities (PwD).
  • Reach unbanked and underbanked women and people with disabilities through fintech services.
  • Organize gender and accessibility awareness programs for all personnel in contact with the public, from traffic and police officers to toll booth operators, etc.
  • Encourage inclusive businesses, such as platforms run by women or that encourage the recruitment of women and people with disabilities.
  • Make aggregated data publicly available to enable robust decision-making by the ecosystem.
  • (Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)

    First post: STI

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