Prepare for a growing workforce

Niti Aayog’s latest report on the growth of the gig and platform economy in India sheds light on the emerging employment scenarios in the country and the challenges they pose. The report estimated that the current labor force of about eight million people will grow to 23.5 million within a decade, when it will represent about 6.7 percent of the non-agricultural labor force. Gig workers are defined as those who work outside the “traditional employer-employee arrangement” and platform workers are those “whose work is based on online software applications or digital platforms”. According to the report, more than 75% of companies currently have less than 10% headcount, but “this proportion is set to increase…as multinationals turn to flexible hiring options.” Forms of employment are changing due to changes in the economy and consumption patterns, and these changes will occur more rapidly than in the past.

The number of on-demand workers is growing as app-based work for transporting and delivering food, groceries, and other goods and services increases. Employment in the gig economy is considered work outside of the formal, traditional employee-employer relationship. The report states that “the platform worker is placed at the unique intersection of formal and informal classification”. There are some advantages to such work, but there are also many problems. Pieceworkers are not entitled to the normal occupational and social benefits to which workers in traditional sectors are entitled. The Social Security Code (SSC) of 2020 mentions that some benefits like accident insurance should be made available to people registered under the seeded e-shram portal Aadhaar, but they are still not eligible for major benefits like provident funds, medical care and retirement. advantages. The report says benefits, such as paid sick leave and access to health and insurance, should be given to them.

In some countries like the United States, gig workers are recognized as employees. But there is still no legal definition of gig workers in India. The absence of a clear definition prevents them from taking full advantage of the social security code. Since the economy will expand, the number of workers will increase rapidly, and she will no longer be able to ignore them. Lack of job security, irregular wages, uncertain employment status and particular physical and psychological problems arising from the nature of the work are some of the problems that workers on construction sites and platforms have to deal with. face. Many of them are poorly qualified. The report calls for a framework that balances the flexibility offered by platforms with the need to provide social security for workers. The report is timely and should prompt the government to take the necessary follow-up action.

Michael A. Bynum