Gig Economy: Prospects and Pitfalls

Gig economy is the developing trend in India in the recent years. India is ranked among the top 10 countries in the Global Gig Economy Index report.

Gig economy is a system of work organization where individuals work on contract basis with employers and hold positions which are not permanent. This way a free-market economy is set up.

India has huge demographic dividend and among them huge numbers of employment-seeking individuals. In this respect, gig economy offers various opportunities. In Indian case, informal sector has been a key provider of jobs to people migrating from rural areas to urban areas in search of jobs. Construction workers, industrial workers, domestic helps, delivery providers, etc. form a part of India’s informal sector.

Gig economy has similarities with the informal sector, causing some to call it an extension and well-defined version of informal work. But, gig economy holds multiple prospects for India.

The most pressing requirement in India today is to provide employment to huge numbers of youth. These youth range from unskilled to semi-skilled. Various types of jobs ranging from- delivery agents, marketing, service providers, etc. provide good employment prospects. Individuals looking for short-term paying jobs with worthy work may benefit from it.


Gig work in information technology provides vivid range of work and choices to individuals today who are looking for ease of working and meaningful work which they desire to do. On the other hand, providing flexibility to work cuts the costs of such companies and saves their resources making it a win-win situation.

Today, the tech-jobs have made freelancing a common employment trend. It encourages talent and skilled workers to find high-paying jobs according to their desires. The multinational companies and growing cyber hubs in the country offer various job opportunities in this respect.

Work from home is an emerging trend, providing opportunities for people in remote areas to contribute equally sitting at home.

Moreover, inclusion of working women and mothers into the economy will take place if gig work is made more prevalent in various sectors across a variety pay-range. This will add to raising numbers of women workforce.

UrbanClap, a private service provider in various daily-needs signed an agreement with Government to help generate jobs on a minimum assured monthly wage ranging from 15,000 to 25,000 for various jobs like plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc. This shows how government and private sector have greater prospects for collaboration in gig economy for handing issues of unemployment.

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But gig economy is unregulated one so exploitation of workers, issues of rights of workers come in spotlight.

Gig workers do not have job-security and may not enjoy full benefits like permanent workers in terms of pay, health benefits, insurance, etc. Platform workers in industries, construction, MSMEs are worst impacted as witnessed during pandemic-lockdowns. Such workers do not have the option to work from home and might altogether lose their source of livelihood. Apart from highly skilled workers like software engineers, other people cannot bargain in case of low pay.

Recently All India Gig Workers Union was formed following arbitrary reduction in pay of Swiggy workers.

In this respect, government is increasingly recognizing platform workers and gig workers. Recently, three labor laws were passed for the same. The Code on Security bill 2020 will provide benefits to platform workers like maternity leaves, provident fund, old age protection cover, etc.

But more needs to be done.

Labor rights along with benefits must be provided to platform and gig workers.

Innovative areas of work must be encouraged by assessing the work-force of the country according to their skill-sets. Private players must be pro-actively included with combined agenda of providing employment as well as providing services to people.

The government must find solutions to pass on direct benefits to the gig workers which are often provided to their employers like tax concessions.

Therefore, if India can succeed to tap the benefits offered by gig economy while formulating solutions for the shortcomings, it can actually convert its demographic dividend to a boon and reach the goal of a $5 trillion economy.

Author:  Suramya Sharma

Category: Indian Economy