Size of the gig economy in India, challenges it faces and possible solutions
Gig employees are the new ubiquitous workforce. They are the ones who provide us with the meals we have ordered online, transport us from home to the office or elsewhere, and generally provide a host of services that go unnoticed. As their tribe grows by leaps and bounds, many of the challenges they’ve faced remain unanswered. Business Standard examines the size of the so-called gig economy and its direction, as well as the problems it faces and the likely solutions to those problems:
SIZE AND DISTRIBUTION
– 23.5 million: The expected size of the gig workforce by 2029-30. This represents 6.7% of the non-agricultural labor force.
– 7.7 million: Estimated gig economy workforce in 2020-21. This represents 2.6% of the non-agricultural labor force in India.
– 2.7 million gig workers in retail and sales, 1.3 million in transportation
– 600,000 in industry, another 600,000 in finance and insurance
– The retail sector saw an increase of 1.5 million workers from 2011-12 to 2019-20, the transport sector by 800,000 and manufacturing by 400,000 over the same period
– In the education sector, the expansion increased from 66,000 to more than 100,000 in 2019-2020
– Currently around 47% of gig workers are in medium-skilled jobs, 22% in high-skilled jobs and 31% in low-skilled jobs
– The trend shows that the concentration of medium-skilled workers is decreasing, that of low-skilled and high-skilled workers is increasing
– The dominance of medium-skilled gig workers will continue until 2030
THE CHALLENGES FACED BY GIG WORKERS
– Lack of job security, irregular wages and uncertain employment status
– Increased stress due to uncertainty associated with the regularity of work and disposable income
– Limited access to internet and digital technology
– Contractual relationship between the owner of the platform and the gig worker denying the latter access to many rights in the workplace.
– Stress due to the pressure of algorithmic management practices and performance evaluation based on ratings.
LIKELY SOLUTIONS TO THEIR PROBLEMS
– Increase access to institutional credit for platform workers and those wishing to create their own platforms
– Unsecured loans provided to new borrowers in the platform economy can be classified as priority sector loans
– Youth and workforce skills development to make them employable
– Governments can ensure universal coverage for platform workers through the Social Security Code
– Paid sick leave, health access and insurance for on-demand workers
– Occupational illness and work accident insurance for all delivery partners and drivers
– Retirement/retirement plans and other benefits
Source: India’s Booming Gig and Platform Economy Report by NITI Aayog