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Promising Bill

Introduction:

  • The gig economy has become a major source of jobs for youth in India. However, gig workers are not recognized as “workers” and lack social security, leading to harsh working conditions and growing flash strikes. The Rajasthan government has introduced a bill to address this issue.

Merits:

  • Gig work has become a beneficial outlet of employment, especially for youth and migrant workers seeking flexible hours and quick means of securing finances.
  • The Rajasthan Platform-based Gig Workers (Registration and Welfare) Bill, 2023, proposes a welfare board to design welfare policies and hear grievances of gig workers on a piece rate basis.
  • The board is expected to work towards a social welfare corpus financed by a cess on the digital transactions made by consumers on the platforms that utilize gig worker labor.
  • Platform workers in Thailand and Malaysia benefit from health and accident insurance as well as social security financed by a deduction of 2% for every ride.
  • If the Rajasthan draft Bill is successful, other states could be compelled to utilize similar measures to ensure the welfare of gig workers.

Demerits:

  • Increased competition among platforms and the availability of a cheap labor force have led to a lowering of incentives for gig workers.
  • Workload and uncertainty of work hours have increased significantly relative to pay, which has also become insufficient for many.
  • Gig workers are not recognized as “workers” but partners by most aggregating platforms and lack any social security or related benefits due to them as “workers”.
  • The specificities of the policies and how they might benefit the workers are still unclear.

Conclusion:

  • The gig economy has been a significant source of employment in India, especially for youth and migrant workers. However, the lack of recognition of gig workers as “workers” and the absence of social security measures have resulted in harsh working conditions and growing flash strikes. The Rajasthan government’s proposed welfare board, financed by a cess on digital transactions, is a welcome step towards ensuring the welfare of gig workers. However, the specificities of the policies and how they might benefit workers need to be clearly defined to ensure effective implementation.

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