In a first for the nation, senior officials familiar with the plans said on Tuesday that the Rajasthan government is likely to propose a law during the state assembly’s budget session in January of next year to protect the rights of gig workers and make them eligible for various state welfare programmes.
Those who engage in any income-generating activity as independent contractors or on a temporary basis are referred to as gig workers. The majority of these individuals are employed by app-based businesses, primarily Ola, Uber, Swiggy, and Zomato.
Data from the National Institution for Transforming India (Niti) Aayog indicates that as of June 2022, there were approximately 7.7 million gig workers, and that figure is expected to triple by 2029–2030. According to the sources mentioned above, the Rajasthan government predicts that there are between 225,000 and 270,000 gig workers operating only within the state, of whom 50,000 work for Ola and 35,000 for Uber.
“However, the workers said that unlike regular jobs, they do not have any job security and facilities like health insurance. Moreover, they are not covered under labour laws and therefore, do not get institutional protection against exploitation. Their biggest concern was that there is no alternative source of income if they lose their job,” the official said.
According to the poll, more than 50% of gig workers lacked health insurance of any type, and 40% were not protected by the state’s accidental insurance programme. According to the official, the majority of the labourers were from Rajasthan, but some were also from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Madhya Pradesh.
The Rajasthan government plans to develop a portal where gig workers can register themselves to receive government benefits in light of the survey’s findings, the official continued. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi spoke about the difficulties gig workers experience at the Bharat Jodo Yatra last week in Rajasthan, and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot promised to give them legal identification during the budget session.
“In this 21st century, the gig workers are those who drive Ola or Uber and work to deliver for Zomato, we need to think about them. Those who work for the government are protected by the government and given pension, but crores of people who work for the gig economy don’t have a social security system or pension system, they aren’t protected. The government needs to think about them,” Gandhi said while addressing a gathering in Alwar on December 19.
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