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

  • Category
    Economy
  • Published
    13th Jul, 2022

Context

According to the study released by NITI Aayog recently, the number of workers engaged in the gig economy is expected to grow to 2.35 crore by 2029-30.

About

In the report titled 'India's Booming Gig and Platform Economy', NITI Aayog has made observations on labour force participation of women and persons with disabilities, and made recommendations to companies.

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.
  • Gig economy includes all platforms that hire independent workers across sectors like e-commerce, technology, food & beverages, home services among others.
  • Gig workers are typically hired by companies on a contractual basis and are not considered employees. They do not receive some of the benefits that on-roll staffs do.

Key highlights of the study:

  • As per NITI Aayog, the number of workers engaged in the gig economy is estimated to be 77 lakh in 2020-21.
  • At present, about 47% of gig work is in medium skilled jobs, about 22% in high skilled, and 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.
  • While in 2020-21, the gig workforce constituted 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.

Need of social security:

  • India requires a framework that balances the flexibility offered by platforms while also ensuring social security of workers.
  • The consequent platformisation 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.

Classification of gig-workers:

  • 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 applications 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.

Recommendations:

  • 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 engaged in the business of selling regional and rural cuisine, street food, etc., may also be linked to platforms so that they can sell their produce to wider markets in towns and cities.
  • 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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