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India’s gig workforce to reach 2.35 crore by 2030: NITI Aayog

  • Published
    28th Jun, 2022
Context

According to a recent study, the number of workers engaged in the gig economy is expected to grow to 2.35 crore by 2029-30.

About
  • Report title: India's Booming Gig and Platform Economy
  • Released by: NITI Aayog
  • Objective: To present comprehensive perspectives and recommendations on the gig–platform economy in India. 

What is gig economy?

  • As per the World Economic Forum (WEF), gig economy is defined by its focus on workforce participation and income generation via “gigs”, single projects or tasks for which a worker is hired.
  • Classification: Gig workerscan be broadly classified into:
    • Platform workers: Those whose work is based on online software apps or digital platforms such as food aggregator platforms Zomato, Swiggy, Ola, and others.
    • Non-platform-based workers: generally casual wage and own-account workers in conventional sectors, engaged part-time or full-time.

Key highlights of the study:

  • The Indian gig workforce is expected to expand to 23.5 million workersby 2029-30, a near 200 per cent jump from 7.7 million now.
  • Gig workerswill form 4.1 per cent of the total workforce in India by FY30, from 1.5 per cent now.

Current trend

At present,

  • about 47% of gig work is in medium skilled jobs
  • about 22% in high skilled
  • about 31% in low skilled jobs

The trend shows the concentration of workers in medium skills is gradually declining and that of the low skilled and high skilled is increasing.

Expected trend

  • While 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 in India.
  • Benefits in the sector
    • low-entry barriers
    • enormous potential for job creation in India
    • better income opportunities to those previously engaged in similar non-platform jobs
  • Rising challenges
    • lack of job security
    • irregularity of wages and uncertain employment status for workers
    • the contractual relationship between the platform owner and worker is characterised as other than one of employment
    • No workplace protections and entitlements
  • NITI Aayog’s recommendation
    • social security measures to gig workers and their families, including sick leave, insurance, and pension

Recommendations:

  • Platformisation: 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.
    • Self-employed individuals may also be linked to platforms so that they can sell their produce to wider markets in towns and cities.
  • Focus on social security: Measures should be taken to provide social security, including paid leave, occupational disease and work accident insurance, and support during irregularity of work and pension plans for the gig workforce in the country.
  • Improving women participation in gig-economy: Fiscal incentives such as tax-breaks or startup grants may be provided for businesses that provide livelihood opportunities where women constitute a substantial portion (say, 30 per cent) of their workers. 
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