India’s labour regulations have traditionally been rooted in the binary classification of ‘formal’ and ‘informal’. As gig workers fall outside this binary, regulating them under traditional labour laws becomes challenging.
Landmark changes

  • The Code on Social Security, 2020 was introduced to consolidate and amend a host of laws regarding social security with the objective to “extend social security to all employees and workers either in the organized or unorganized or any other sectors”. It defines gig workers and brings them under the ambit of certain social security measures, inter alia, provident fund, health and maternity benefits, life insurance, disability insurance and skill upgradation.
  • In 2022, NITI Aayog launched a report titled ‘India’s Booming Gig and Platform Economy’ highlighting the challenges and opportunities of the gig economy. This report outlined international best practices on extending social security to gig workers and issued targeted recommendations for policy intervention. It advocated for harnessing the economic potential of the gig-platform sector and providing adequate safety nets to gig workers by, inter alia, accelerating access to finance through products specifically
  • designed for platform workers; extending social security measures in partnership mode as envisaged in the Code on Social Security; and enhancing social inclusion through gender
    sensitization and accessibility awareness programmes for workers and their families.

Recent Developments
Regulating the gig economy has presented a challenge to policy makers as they do not conform to the formal-informal binary present in pre-existing labour regulations. The gig economy already represents a sizable part of the workforce, and with NITI Aayog’s report projecting strong growth, this space needs pro-active regulatory intervention.

Ministry of Labour & Employment
Ministry of Law & Justice

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