As the gig economy keeps gaining prominence in India, at least 7 million workers are left to endure its consequences. In 2020, the central government pledged to provide a sense of social security social security Indian Express Govts new versions of labour codes Read more to gig workers—characterised by their transient employment as opposed to having stable careers. But those assurances have been nothing more than empty rhetoric; three years on, the plight of these workers who work in companies such as cab aggregators Ola and Uber, food-tech Zomato and Swiggy, and home-services startup Urban Company remains unaltered.
In September 2020, the government recognised those who freelance or work under short-term contracts for the first time when it introduced a Code on Social Security Code on Social Security Ministry of Employment & Labour Code on Social Security, 2020 Read more . It mandated the employers of gig workers to provide benefits similar to those of regular employees, such as insurance, provident fund, and pension.
However, despite being approved approved Live Mint President Kovind gives assent to three labour codes Read more by the then President Ram Nath Kovind, the Code remains only a toothless gazette notification, and the Centre has taken no action to implement its provisions.
This is despite the dire need for the code.
On 27 December, Fairwork India, an international research project, released a report report Fair Work Fair work India ratings 2022 Read more on the conditions of gig workers employed by digital platforms. Five companies—Ola, Uber, delivery platform Amazon Flex, healthtech PharmEasy, and quick-delivery app Dunzo—scored a zero in the ratings. The report assessed and marked the companies (on a scale of 0-10) on fair pay, fair working conditions, fairness of contracts, fair management, and representation.
While officials in the Ministry of Labour and Employment said that the Centre has already drafted its rules under the Code, The Ken has learnt that no steps have been taken to set up a mechanism to oversee their implementation.
The Centre has passed the onus of execution on the states since labour is an issue that both Centre and states have power over. At the same time, state governments—nine of whom are preoccupied with Legislative Assembly elections in 2023—have failed to make rules in line with the Code.