Size of the gig economy in India, challenges and potential remedies



Gig workers are the ubiquitous new workforce. They are the ones who get us the meals we order online, transport us from home to the office or wherever, and usually perform a variety of services unnoticed. As their tribe grows by leaps and bounds, many of the challenges they face remain unresolved. Business Standard takes a look at the size of the so-called gig economy and where it’s headed, along with the problems it’s facing and the likely solutions to those problems:


THE SIZE AND DISTRIBUTION

– 23.5 million: The expected size of the Gig workforce by 2029-30. That is 6.7% of the non-agricultural workforce.

– 7.7 million: Estimated gig economy workforce in 2020-21. That is 2.6% of the non-farm payrolls in India.


Industrial distribution

– 2.7 million gig workers in retail and sales, 1.3 million in transportation

– 600,000 in manufacturing, another 600,000 in finance and insurance

– The retail sector recorded an increase of 1.5 million workers from 2011-12 to 2019-20, the transport sector 800,000 and the manufacturing sector 400,000 in the same period

– In the education sector, the number increased from 66,000 to more than 100,000 by 2019-20

– Currently, about 47% of gig workers are in medium-skilled jobs, 22% in high-skilled jobs, and 31% in low-skilled jobs

– Trend shows that the concentration of medium-skilled workers is decreasing, that of low-skilled and high-skilled is increasing

– The dominance of medium-skilled gig workers will continue into 2030


THE CHALLENGES GIG WORKERS FACE

– Lack of job security, irregular wages and insecure employment status

– Increased stress due to uncertainty related to the regularity of available work and income

– Limited access to internet and digital technology

– Contractual relationship between the platform owner and the gig worker, denying the latter access to many workspace permissions.

– Stress from algorithmic management practices and performance evaluation based on ratings.




LIKELY SOLUTIONS TO YOUR PROBLEMS

– Improving access to institutional credit for platform workers and those interested in setting up their own platforms

– Unsecured loans made to first-time borrowers in the platform economy can be classified as senior sector loans

– Skills development of youth and workforce to make them employable

– Governments can ensure universal coverage of platform workers through the Social Security Code

– Paid sick leave, healthcare access and insurance for gig workers

– Occupational disease and work injury insurance for all delivery and driver partners

– Retirement/pension plans and other emergency benefits

Source: India’s booming gig and platform economy report by NITI Aayog

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