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Ola, Uber and Zomato: India’s Gig Workers See Hope in New State Law

Gig workers in India are celebrating a small but significant victory in their ongoing fight for labour rights and better working conditions.

The work is gruelling, hours are long, the pay is meagre and there’s no job security or access to basic rights like paid leave, insurance or pension.

But on 24 July, the western state of Rajasthan passed a landmark law that aims to provide platform-based gig workers social security benefits – a right they have been demanding for a long time – among other provisions.

The Rajasthan Platform Based Gig Workers (Registration and Welfare) Act 2023 proposes to set up a social security fund by imposing a welfare tax of 1%-2% on every transaction made by a customer on apps that fall within its ambit, like food delivery and ride sharing. State government grants and contributions by gig workers will also be pooled into the fund.

The law also aims to create an online database of gig workers in the state by registering them and the platforms they’re associated with; set up a system to address their grievances and a welfare board to monitor and enforce rules and fine aggregator platforms that don’t comply.

Many labour rights activists have praised the law saying it will give gig workers at least some of the rights enjoyed by those in the formal economy. They also say it will provide a model for other states to follow.

But critics argue that the law might slow down the gig economy by irking customers, who may end up paying more for transactions as aggregator platforms could increase prices to pay the welfare tax.

Source : BBC