Hi, I’m Priyanshi, an intern at IFF. The reliance on the gig economy in India is on a constant rise, but their social welfare has often been overlooked. Here’s what I found-
(A gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations hire independent workers for short-term commitments. Example- Uber, Swiggy etc.)
- India has seen an alarming growth in the gig economy during the last 5 years. Since it is largely unregulated and there is a vast policy vacuum, the tech giants have exploited the services of the gig workers without providing any social or health security, insurance benefits or any other benefits.
- In 2018 an Unorganised Sector Social Security Act was passed that had its drawbacks and did not essentially cater specifically to the needs of gig workers.
- Only recently, Rajya Sabha in December 2019 introduced the Code of Social Security for these independent workers. This code is an amalgamation of existing labour laws and recognises platform workers as well as gig workers ensuring social benefits to them.
- The code focuses on social, maternity, health benefits. However, there is no provision as to rights against encroachment of their privacy leaving only Article 21 of the Constitution that protects the right to privacy, to their rescue.
- This concern is particularly raised since these workers are extremely vulnerable to exploitation of their privacy rights during the COVID-19 crisis.
- The delivery workers, during the COVID 19 crisis have no alternative job opportunities or regulated health safety, thus have no option but to comply with the set instructions (especially with regard to the order mandating them to download the Aarogya Setu app) This does not constitute as free consent since there is financial dependency.
What are your thoughts?
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