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The Rajasthan Platform Based Gig Workers (Registration And Welfare) Bill, 2023

Indian labour and employment laws primarily recognises three main categories of employees: government employees, employees in government-controlled corporate bodies known as Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and private sector employees who may be managerial staff or workmen. Currently, gig workers lack the 'employee' status under Indian law, which has a number of disadvantages, including the inability to join unions to advocate their interests, exploitative connections, and so on.

Gig worker are defined as 'a person who performs work or participates in a work arrangement and earns from such activities outside of traditional employer-employee relationships' under Section 2(32) of the Code on Social Security 2020. Platform based gig workers refers to the workers who work part time or on hourly basis for an organisation who runs any platform, generally online platforms like Swiggy, Uber etc.

A 2017 Ernst & Young report on the "Future of Jobs in India" discovered that India accounts for 24% of the world's gig workers.[1] According to the state-run think tank NITI Aayog, India has an estimated 7.7 million platform-based gig workers, with the number predicted to climb to 23 million by 2030. However, because they operate in the country's informal or unorganized sector, the vast majority of gig workers do not have access to social security benefits.[2]

However, during the pandemic platform gig workers came to the forefront to deliver essentials to people during the shutdown period. They also helped the economy afloat by running the many businesses and hence the Parliament on September 2020 enacted the Social security code which acknowledges platform and gig workers as a new occupational category in India.

Henceforth, there has been several steps taken by the central and state government to organise platform gig workers, provide them with social security and provide a proper redressal mechanism. The Social Security Code, 2020 which is one of the four labour codes provides provisions to mandate compulsory registration of gig workers in its online portal, provides them the benefits of accidental insurance, life and disability cover, old age protection, health and maternity benefits and any other facility as deemed fit by the central Government.

On the rule making side, The Union Government issued Motor Vehicle Aggregators Guidelines in 2020 which entitles the platform gig workers to get a term insurance of 15 Lakhs and Health Insurance of 10 Lakhs with an increase of 5% every year.[3] While legislative measures take time to develop, industry initiatives centred on worker cooperatives have provided feasible models for gig workers to obtain improved working conditions. The Bangalore Auto Drivers Union's Namma Yatri is an example.

While laws and provisions are shaping up, the platform based gig workers have still not been organised and their due is not paid. The recent rules under the Social Security Code promises to provide benefits but does not entitle gig workers to claim labour rights. They cannot reach out to the Court for their grievances, and the quantum of responsibility towards them is not fixed.

The Code only recognised gig workers between the age of 16 to 60 which excludes certain sections of the society and hence the new Rajasthan platform based gig workers (registration and welfare) bill, 2023 provided the much needed protection to all kinds of platform based gig workers.

The Rajasthan Platform Based Gig Workers (Registration and Welfare) Act 2023 creates a welfare fund for gig workers, which would be supported by a new fee levied on each transaction on the platform. According to the Act, the tax cannot be more than 2% or less than 1%, and it will be charged to a company's revenue from that transaction, not to the customers. The money will be used to finance projects aimed at the well-being of platform-based gig workers.

Under the Act, the gig workers will be registered and tracked, a welfare board is to be constituted and a proper grievance redressal mechanism is provided. Often, the gig workers are overlapped with contract labourers and unorganised sectors but this Act will provide recognition to the 2 million platform based gig workers in the state. The welfare board under the Act will give access to representatives of gig workers' unions to be a part of all decision-making on how the money is to be spent, for the first time in the country.

Janaki Srinivasan of the Fairwork Project was one of the spectators of the reflections on the law that took place in Rajasthan in the form of this bill and called the new law an "excellent" move. Fairwork is an economy research project at the Oxford Internet Institute that evaluates the working conditions of gig workers on digital platforms.[4]

According to a research, the gig economy has the potential to service up to 90 million jobs (approximately 30% of India's non-farm labour), contribute up to 1.25% of India's GDP in the long term, and create millions of new employment across the Indian economy.[5] Hence the Government needs to take up charge and regularise and provide the necessary status to the platform gig workers. The Act is a necessity of today's time and should be passed and Rajasthan should inspire other State Legislations to implement such Acts for the welfare of the gig workers.

  • The Law for Gig-Workers in India - Nyaaya, Nyaaya,
  • Pawanjot Kaur, Indian state's new tax on digital platforms sets gig workers against firms, Al Jazeera (July 27, 2023),
  • Gig workers right's a US- India comparative based on recent developments, Times of India Blog,
  • OII | A Fairwork Foundation: Towards fair work in the platform economy, OII | Homepage,
  • Laws in India for GIG or Temporary Workers, Law Firm in India: India Law Offices LLP - Pan India,

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