Research Dissemination on Online Freelancing: Challenges, Opportunities and Impact in India

  • Highlights
  • Agenda

At this event organised jointly by ICRIER and LIRNEasia, the research findings of the study on ‘Online Freelancing: Challenges, Opportunities and Impact in India’ were released. The context for the study was the rise of bots and artificial intelligence (AI) that has brought new job opportunities for established industries. The study notes that technology has created jobs, especially in knowledge-intensive sectors such as medicine, education, and other professional services. However, it would be erroneous to assume that technology related jobs are only for the skilled or for the formally employed. The study emphasises that technology is also creating jobs for less educated workers, and is an opportunity for India’s informal workforce and has accordingly explored the market for online freelancing and its role as a bellwether for the future of work in India. Delivering the keynote address, K.P. Krishnan, Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India, identified drivers of the rapidly changing work environment in India and across the world. He spoke about the need to challenge conventional ideas of how and where work is done, alluding to the transformation of work-life balance into work-life integration. He also pointed out that many of the policy challenges for India are not identical to those for the rest of the world, especially the developed countries. According to him, since bots are increasingly taking over a wide range of low-skill repetitive tasks, skill development programmes in India should focus beyond computer literacy to enable individuals to sustain the growth of online freelancing and micro work. The report findings highlight the rising scope and scale of online freelancing in India. The ecosystem now offers a wider variety of skills and work types, creating a big opportunity for the vast pool of informal labour in the country, especially women. The flexibility offered by online freelancing platforms could fit in well with the demands of an evolving society that is looking for fulfilling and independent opportunities of livelihood. The report recommends policy changes that can help enforce the idea of a mixed labour work force that picks between full time and contractual work based on personal preferences. The risk of technology-driven job destruction could be converted into an opportunity through online freelancing and micro work, through which at least some percentage of the millions of new and young entrants to the labour force could find livelihood opportunities.

Online Freelancing: Challenges, Opportunities and Impact in India

Wednesday, December 27, 2017, Juniper Hall, India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road, New Delhi


10.00 – 10.30 am


10.30 -10.35 am

Welcome Remarks by Dr. Rajat Kathuria, Director & CE, ICRIER

10.35 -10.45 am

Opening Remarks by Ms. Helani Galpaya, Chief Executive Officer,  LIRNEasia, Sri Lanka

10.45 -11.05 am

Keynote Address: Dr. K. P. Krishnan,Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Govt. of India

11.05 – 11.15 am

Tea Break

 Interactive Session: Dissemination of Research Findings

11.15 – 12 noon

Dr. Rajat Kathuria, Director & CE, ICRIER
[Download Presentation]

Ms. Helani Galpaya, Chief Executive Officer, LIRNEasia, Sri Lanka
(along with the research team)
[Download Presentation]

12 noon – 01.00 pm

Panel Discussion

Moderator:Mr. R. Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM


Mr. Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Co-Founder and Executive Vice Chairman, Info Edge

Dr. Manish Kumar, Managing Director & CEO, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)

Dr. Harsha Vardhana Singh, Executive Director, Brookings India

01.00 – 01.25 pm

Questions and Answers

01.25 – 01.30 pm

Vote of Thanks:


01.30 pm onwards