The Karnataka government has introduced a new initiative in its budget, offering a free insurance cover worth INR 4 lakh for gig workers to ensure their social security. The insurance facility will include INR 2 lakh for life insurance and another INR 2 lakh for accidental insurance. This move aims to provide financial protection to gig workers in the unorganized sector, particularly those employed as full-time or part-time delivery personnel for food delivery companies like Zomato, Swiggy, and other e-commerce platforms.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah emphasized the significance of providing social security to gig workers in the unorganized sector. The premium for the insurance cover will be borne by the Karnataka government, alleviating the financial burden for the workers. This initiative is a step towards fulfilling the election promise made by the Congress party to establish a “Gig Workers’ Welfare Board” for Karnataka, with an initial allocation of INR 3,000 crore.
The growing gig economy has witnessed a surge in the number of workers engaged in various gig jobs. According to NITI Aayog, approximately 7.7 million workers were part of the gig economy in 2020-21, and this number is projected to reach 23.5 million by 2029-30. However, along with this growth, concerns regarding wages and working conditions have arisen, leading to protests by gig workers demanding better treatment.
Several incidents in the past year have seen gig workers raise their voices against unfavorable working conditions. Delivery executives from Blinkit staged a strike in the Delhi NCR region in response to a new payment structure implemented by the company. Likewise, Dunzo riders in Bengaluru protested against changes in login timings and the incentive structure, among other grievances.
The issue of providing appropriate working conditions to gig workers has also been highlighted in a report by Fairwork. The study identified Indian startups such as Ola, Uber, and Dunzo as among the worst performers in this regard.
The insurance cover announcement by the Karnataka government aims to address some of these concerns and improve the social security net for gig workers. By offering free insurance coverage, the government intends to protect the financial well-being of gig workers and ensure their peace of mind in the event of unforeseen accidents or loss of life.
As the Karnataka government takes this progressive step, it sets an example for other states to prioritize the welfare and social security of gig workers, fostering a more inclusive and supportive work environment for this emerging workforce.
Sources By Agencies