Rajasthan’s Move Spells Some Hope For Gig Workers
The Rajasthan Platform-Based Gig Workers Social Security and Welfare Fund, which was launched by the Chief Minister of Rajasthan earlier this year, will be the nation’s first welfare fund. Since the Code on Social Security was passed in 2020, this is the first actual instance of governmental action to reduce the vulnerabilities of gig and platform employees.
Points to Ponder:
- The Rajasthan Platform-Based Gig Workers Social Security and Welfare Fund, India’s first welfare fund for gig workers, was unveiled by the state’s chief minister.
- The action intends to provide social security benefits to gig and platform employees and alleviate the dangers they confront.
- Such regulatory measures were made possible by the Code on Social Security, which was passed in 2020, but many states have yet to adopt the regulations governing its implementation.
- Despite having Assembly elections the next year, Rajasthan is setting an example by creating the welfare fund.
- The state has already established welfare boards for several labour categories, including dock workers, head loaders, and construction employees.
- Based on the Rajasthan platform A tripartite structure, the Gig Employees Welfare Board will consist of representatives from the government, employers/clients, and employees’ unions/associations.
- The board’s goal is to meet the demands of gig workers and offer a recognisable organisation that is comparable to worker boards that already exist in industries with more formal employment arrangements.
- The types of plans and programmes the board can adopt are restricted by the Social Security Code. Options include housing, housing insurance, educational programmes for the kids of employees, skill development, and funeral help.
- The central government is in charge of important protection programmes like education, health and maternity benefits, life and disability insurance, and old age and disability insurance.
- The central government determines which states will receive these central schemes, their duration, and the eligibility criteria for gig and platform workers.
- Funding for the welfare initiatives may be challenging, as the code mandates platforms to contribute 1%-2% of their revenue to the schemes.
- However, revenue-negative platform companies or those reliant on external funding may face difficulties in meeting this financial obligation.
- The specifics of the financial allocation of ₹200 crore by the Rajasthan government and the mechanism for charging platforms with their financial responsibility are unclear.
- The Gig and Platform Worker Board’s ability to protect gig and platform workers’ legal rights has drawn criticism.
- Instead of addressing more general labour rights concerns, the Code on Social Security largely focuses on offering protections for sensitive areas of gig work.
- The board’s success will depend on its capacity to address issues that time-constrained gig workers experience and offer valuable benefits that offset the fees associated with registering for and using those benefits.
- Despite these difficulties, unions and gig workers alike view the creation of the welfare board as an important accomplishment since it shows that their issues are being acknowledged and taken seriously.
- In contrast to expectations that states would postpone implementing the new Codes until after the elections, Rajasthan is establishing the board before the 2024 general elections.