India plans welfare measures for gig workers ahead of elections

India Plans Welfare Measures for Gig Workers Ahead of Elections

As India gears up for upcoming elections, the government is preparing to implement welfare measures for gig workers employed through platforms like Amazon, Uber, and Zomato. These measures, part of the Social Security Code introduced in 2020, could include accident, health insurance, and retirement benefits, according to an anonymous senior government official.

In response to concerns about the exploitation of gig workers, Ashwani Mahajan from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh group emphasized the need for state protection. The gig economy has seen significant growth in India, especially during COVID-19 restrictions, making these workers a vital part of the country’s economy.

The government is taking steps to ensure gig workers’ welfare, with discussions focusing on a potential fund to be financed through contributions from federal and state governments as well as the platforms themselves. Major companies such as Amazon have expressed their willingness to contribute to such a fund.

The proposed measures are expected to cover a wide range of industries, including cab-sharing, retail, food delivery, construction, and finance. Although the exact size of India’s gig economy is not officially documented, private estimates place the number of workers between 10 million and 15 million.

The government aims to initially provide gig workers with state-funded medical and accident insurance, along with a complaint resolution mechanism. The proposed employer contribution mechanism would entail a percentage of annual revenues or worker payments being directed to a security fund.

The move comes in response to growing complaints by gig workers about working conditions, pay cuts, and long working hours. It is also in line with the government’s goal to provide better protection and recognition for these workers, who contribute significantly to the country’s workforce and economy.

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