Kerala to frame policy to govern gig economy to ensure fair wages, better working conditions

77 lakh workers engaged in country’s gig economy, which includes everything from food and taxi aggregators to various platform-based services

Updated - April 04, 2023 06:40 pm IST

Published - April 04, 2023 06:14 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

The Kerala government is working towards framing a policy to regulate the gig economy to ensure fair wages and better working conditions for the workers in the sector.

Responding to questions during a press conference by Labour Minister V. Sivankutty here on Tuesday, Labour Commissioner K. Vasuki said the Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA) was currently conducting the background studies for framing the policy. Consultations would be held with experts from the International Labour Organization (ILO) as part of the policy preparation.

“The gig economy does not work based on a traditional payment system. Most other existing sectors have an established system of fixed salaries and benefits. But, here they work based on complicated algorithms, to calculate the incentives for workers. Neither the governments nor the workers have access to these systems. Recently, we had interactions with an ILO delegation, which said that many countries were grappling with issues on how to handle or regulate the gig economy. It will take some time to study all the issues involved and frame a policy,” said Ms. Vasuki.

According to a study by the NITI Aayog in June 2022, a total of 77 lakh workers are engaged in the country’s gig economy, which includes everything from food and taxi aggregators to various platform-based services. The gig workforce is expected to expand to 2.35 crore by 2029-30, as per the study. But no laws have been framed yet to govern the sector, paving the way for the exploitation of the workers.

Several protests

Around two lakh youth as well as middle-aged persons in Kerala are employed either full-time or part-time with various food delivery aggregators. The lack of laws governing the sector has led to various companies arbitrarily changing the incentive calculation methods, leading to drastically reduced benefits for the workers. This has led to several protests by gig workers in Kerala in the past couple of years. Though the companies have been forced to take temporary measures to quell the protests, no lasting solution has been found yet.

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