The Union Government on Monday said social security benefits will be extended to platform and gig workers, as part of its Social Security Code that was notified in November last year. This marks the first time that gig workers have been included in a union budget. The benefits will include state insurance and minimum wages for the workers, the Finance Minister said.
Presenting the Union Budget for the financial year 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that a portal will be set up to collect information on gig-workers, building and construction workers, among others. This portal will help the government ensure that these workers get benefits like health, credit (easy financing) and food she added. The Finance Minister also said that, for the first time, the Code on Social Security Code 2020 has provided for the universalisation of social security for the entire workforce including gig and platform workers.
The gig and platform workers are those who are engaged by various e-commerce businesses like Uber, Ola, Swiggy and Zomato. These workers, who work for for aggregators are not on the employers' payrolls. They earn wages per task and are not eligible for benefits that those who are salaried employees of these aggregators get.
India has a total workforce of over 50 crore including 40 crore in the unorganised sectors including farm and rural workers.
The finance minister also stated that the government has carried out labour reforms in four major areas of wages, industrial relations, social security and occupational safety and health and working conditions. Nirmala Sitharaman further informed that the â€˜One nation, One ration cardâ€™ plan is under implementation in 32 states and union territories. The Union government will also set up a university in Leh, the finance minister said, adding that 100 new Sainik Schools will be set up in partnership with NGOs and private parties. She stated that 15,000 schools will be strengthened as per National Education Policy and funds will be allocated for the same under the Union Budget for 2021-22.
The government also proposed to amend apprenticeship law to enhance opportunities for youth. Modalities are being worked out for a national research foundation for which Rs 50,000 crore has been earmarked over five years, she said.