In the Budget speech, the CM also proposed the setting up of a welfare board for gig workers
Under the scheme gig workers will get a financial assistance of INR 200 per day for a period of up to 7 days in the event of hospitalisation
The recently released Fairwork India Ratings 2022 found that Ola, Uber, and Dunzo were the worst performers on the gig workers’ index
The Rajasthan government has announced a slew of sops for gig workers as part of this year’s Budget announcements. The state government has given its mandate to set up an INR 200 Cr welfare fund and enactment of the Gig Workers Welfare Act.
Besides, local authorities have also approved the setting up of a welfare board for gig workers.
“To protect them from harassment, I propose to bring the Gig Workers Welfare Act, under which, along with the formation of the Gig Workers Welfare Board, a Gig Workers Welfare Fund will be established with INR 200 Cr,” said Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in his Budget speech.
Noting that the number of gig workers employed with companies such as Ola, Uber, Swiggy, Zomato and Amazon was increasing, Gehlot estimated that the number of gig workers working across the state had shot up to 3-4 Lakh.
While noting that the scope of the gig economy in the state was increasing, the CM further added that there was no arrangement of social security for these workers.
Called the Mukhyamantri Chiranjeevi Shramik Sambal Yojana, the new scheme will offer financial assistance of INR 200 per day for gig workers in the event of hospitalisation, for a maximum period of 7 days.
With this, Rajasthan has become the country’s first state to provide financial assistance to gig workers under the ambit of a dedicated law.
Meanwhile, The Print reports that the state’s information technology department has been, for the past one year, developing an ‘app’ that would track the trips made by gig workers. This would eventually serve as a benchmark for a levy that would be laid on the employers of gig workers. In essence, these companies would have to pay an additional charge on each trip or delivery, which would go towards funding gig workers’ provident funds, pensions, and health and accident insurance.
The Not-So-Great Record
New-age tech startups operating in India have generally not performed well when it comes to the working conditions of gig workers. A report released last year by Fairwork India found that Ola, Uber, and Dunzo were some of the worst performers on the gig workers’ index.
While Amazon Flex, Dunzo, Ola, PharmEasy and Uber scored zero points, Zepto and Porter scored 2 points and 1 point respectively.
Earlier last year, even government think tank NITI Aayog called on businesses across the country to ensure social security benefits, including paid sick leave, insurance and healthcare, are extended to all gig workers on its platforms.
The announcements also come at a time when most of these new-age tech companies are facing an outage of workers and strikes. Earlier last month, a Swiggy driver in Hyderabad jumped off the third floor to save himself from the dog of a customer to whom he had gone to deliver food. He died three days later.
From Kochi to Ranchi and from Delhi to Bengaluru, delivery executives belonging to all major tech companies including Ola, Uber, Zomato and Swiggy have gone on strike in the recent past to protest steep cuts in commissions and increased working hours.
Critics have also, in the past, panned other issues plaguing gig workers including lack of job security and raising alarm about Zomato’s 10-minute delivery model which could hamper road safety and lives of many delivery executives.
Meanwhile, the gig economy is emerging as an easy way of employment for India’s vast unskilled workforce. It has also emerged as an alternate form of employment for people looking to earn extra cash on the side. As a result, the gig economy has seen a major boom and is witnessing widespread adoption.
According to a report by ASSOCHAM, India’s gig sector is estimated to grow to $455 Bn by 2024.