India's gig workforce is expected to expand to 2.35 crore by 2029-30 from 77 lakh in 2020-21, a NITI Aayog report said on Monday, and recommended extending social security measures for such workers and their families in partnership mode as envisaged in Code on Social Security.
The report titled 'India's Booming Gig and Platform Economy' further said gig workers are expected to form 6.7 per cent of the non-agricultural workforce or 4.1 per cent of the total livelihood in India by 2029-30.
According to the report, it is estimated that in 2020-21, 77 lakh workers were engaged in the gig economy and they constituted 2.6 per cent of the nonagricultural workforce or 1.5 per cent of the total workforce in India.
Similarly, it estimated that there were 68 lakh gig workers in 2019-20, using both principal and subsidiary status, forming 2.4 per cent of the non-farm workforce or 1.3 per cent of the total workers in India.
Gig workers seem to differ from conventional workers in terms of some individual characteristics. Gig workers are comparatively young, working for fewer hours a day on gig work, preferring a flexible work schedule, typically with low to middle level of education. Income through gig work is not their primary source of income and they are often holding another regular job.
The report pointed out that the employment elasticity to GDP growth for gig workers was above one throughout the period 2011-12 to 2019-20, and was always above the overall employment elasticity.
To harness the potential of the gig-platform sector, the report recommended accelerating access to finance through products specifically designed for platform workers, linking self-employed individuals engaged in the business of selling regional and rural cuisine, street food, etc., with platforms to enable them to sell their produce to wider markets in towns and cities.
Other recommendations include undertaking a separate enumeration exercise to estimate the size of the gig-platform workforce and collecting information during official enumerations.
As per the report, in terms of industrial classification, about 26.6 lakh gig workers were involved in retail trade and sales, and about 13 lakh were in the transportation sector. About 6.2 lakh were in manufacturing and another 6.3 lakh in the finance and insurance activities, it added.
At present, about 47 per cent of the gig work is in medium skilled jobs, 22 per cent in high skilled, and about 31 per cent in low skilled jobs.