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GIG Workers & GIG Economy

April 22, 2021

“I propose to launch a portal that will collect relevant information on gig, building, and construction-workers among others. This will help formulate Health, Housing, Skill, Insurance, Credit, and food schemes for migrant workers”…….……. “For the first time globally, social security benefits will extend to gig and platform workers. Minimum wages will apply to all categories of workers, and they will all be covered by the Employees State Insurance Corporation”. These are quotes from the union budget speech of Hon. Finance Ministry Nirmala Sitaraman. For the first time the term “gig workers” is introduced in a budget document. Social security benefits will be extended to gig workers along with other categories of worker.

“gig” is a slang word that is used for a job that lasts for a specific period of time. Gig workers are workers working in the gig economy, where temporary positions are more common and enterprises hire independent workers for short term projects, preferably outside traditional employer employee relationships. Commitments in the gig economy are mostly for short term. Gig workers in the economy included a workforce engaged in short term, fixed period contracts, like freelancers, project based workers, independent contract workers, temporary and part time workers.

During the recent period, the economy is moving towards gig structure. The number of gig workers in any sector, both organized and unorganized sector is increasing. Workers are becoming more mobile, prefer to work from remote locations, and more project based assignments. Employers also prefer to select workers depending on individual projects, and prefer flexibility in selection. With digitalization gaining momentum, gig workers are increasing in number, because of more convenience for employers and employees. A gig worker gets freedom to work for more than one employer at the same time, with adequate freedom to choose employers and work timings. It also helps in making a choice between work and family life, work life balance.

Gig economy in India is still at its initial stage. According to estimates, in the present scenario, India stands to lose around 135 million jobs due to the pandemic. Many of them could be guided towards building skill sets to suit freelance work opportunities and be a part of this growing flex or gig economy (https://www.thehindubusinessline.com). With the increasing size of the gig economy and increasing number of gig workers, it is imperative to have regulatory framework to protect their interest. Budget provision, if implemented, will be fits step in this direction.

Author:
Dr. Kishor Bhanushali, Director - Academic Administration, Unitedworld School of Business (UWSB)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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