– Narendra Modi: Modi govt plans welfare measures for gig workers ahead of elections

NEW DELHI: India plans to roll out welfare measures for “gig” employees employed by way of platforms like Amazon, Uber and India’s Zomato as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s authorities prepares for elections, authorities and commerce union officers mentioned.

The plan, a part of the Social Safety Code enacted in 2020, might embrace accident, medical health insurance and retirement advantages, mentioned a senior authorities official with direct data of the plan.
Forward of the elections early subsequent yr, the BJP is keen to announce steps after the northern state of Rajasthan, dominated by opposition Congress occasion, authorized establishing a fund by way of a surcharge on gross sales at platforms.

“There may be an urgency to announce reduction measures for gig employees,” mentioned a authorities official, citing conferences with commerce unions, gig platforms and state officers.
Gig employees want state safety, given rising exploitation by employers, mentioned Ashwani Mahajan, an financial official on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh group, which has shut ties to Modi’s authorities.
India’s gig employees, these outdoors conventional employer-employee relationships, are quickly changing into an essential a part of the world’s fifth-biggest economic system because the sector surged beneath Covid-19 restrictions and has been boosted by excessive unemployment.
Booming gig economic system
The labour ministry declined to touch upon the plans. Labour Minister Bhupender Yadav advised lawmakers this week any scheme for gig employees is perhaps funded by way of contributions by federal and state governments, in addition to the platforms.
An trade knowledgeable with direct data of the discussions mentioned the platforms unanimously agreed with the labour ministry’s proposal about social safety for gig employees and had been able to contribute to a “transparently” run welfare fund.
“We count on the announcement of federal measures within the subsequent few months as gamers do not need to take care of a number of states.”
Amazon, requested for touch upon the proposed scheme and its potential prices, referred Reuters to a Thursday media assertion that the corporate had created over 1.3 million jobs in India for supply brokers and sellers, together with 140,000 previously yr, whereas boosting the retail enterprise of small companies.
Uber and Zomato didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
Along with the big-name firms, a whole lot of different on-line platforms and the folks they rent for piecemeal work could be affected, spanning providers reminiscent of cab-sharing, retail, meals, development and finance.
There aren’t any official figures for the dimensions of India’s gig economic system, though personal estimates put the quantity employed at 10 million to fifteen million folks. The Boston Consulting Group forecast in 2021 it had the potential to create 90 million jobs and annual transaction volumes over $250 billion.
By 2030, the federal government assume tank NITI Aayog estimates, the gig economic system might make use of greater than 23.5 million, about 7% of the non-farm workforce.
The federal government has not calculated the price of the deliberate welfare measures because it should get information from the businesses, mentioned the sources, who requested to not be named as a result of they weren’t authorised to talk to the media.
‘We ought to be recognised’
The federal government might initially present gig employees with state-funded medical and accident insurance coverage and a mechanism to handle complaints, one official mentioned, whereas a setting mechanism for employers’ contributions to the fund.
The measures suggest employers contribute between 1% and a pair of% of their annual revenues to a safety fund, as much as 5% of the quantity paid to employees, the sources mentioned.
Greater than 290 million folks have registered for an internet authorities portal meant to challenge identification playing cards to gig employees and different unorganised workers, whereas gathering such particulars as biometric information and their expertise.
The federal government is frightened about rising complaints by gig employees and social media marketing campaign towards platforms about cuts in fee and lengthy working hours.
Blinkit, the grocery unit of meals supply platform Zomato, confronted disruptions in operations in April when a whole lot of employees protested over fee cuts.
“We’ve no channel to boost our complaints,” mentioned Uber driver Sheetal Kashyap, 47, including ladies employees like her face security dangers and exploitation attributable to low bargaining energy.
Shaik Salauddin, nationwide normal secretary of the Indian Federation of App-based Transport Staff representing over 45,000 cab drivers, mentioned they had been lobbying political events for a bundle earlier than the elections.
“We ought to be recognised as workers, eligible for all advantages beneath labour legal guidelines, together with fastened working hours and first rate working circumstances.”

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