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According to a NITI Aayog report titled "India's Booming Gig and Platform Economy," the country's gig workforce will grow to 2.35 crore by 2029–30 from 77 lakh in 2020–21. The research suggests expanding social security benefits for these workers and their families. According to the paper, by 2029–2030, gig workers will account for 4.1% of all income in India, or 6.7% of the non–agricultural workforce.

India is the next frontier of this revolution because of its demographic dividend, which includes a population that is the youngest in the world and a half-billion-strong labour force, expanding urbanisation, widespread adoption of smartphones and related technology, and rapid urbanisation, the NITI Aayog report says.

Gig workers often have low to moderate levels of education and seek a flexible work schedule. Their principal source of income is not from gig labour, and they frequently hold another regular employment in addition to it.

Platform and non-platform workers are the two primary categories of gig workers. Platform employees are individuals whose job is based on digital or online software platforms, whereas non-platform gig workers often get a casual salary and work either full- or part-time.

Currently, medium skilled occupations make up approximately 47% of gig labour, high skilled jobs make up about 22%, and low skilled jobs make up about 31%. The research claims that the pattern shows a gradual decline in the concentration of workers with medium skills and an increase in those with low and high skills.

According to the NITI research, there were 68 lakh gig workers in 2019–20, accounting for 2.4% of India's non-farm employment or 1.3% of all workers, using both main and subsidiary status. In 2020–21, 77 lakh employees, or 2.6% of the non-agricultural workforce or 1.5% of the entire workforce in India, were reportedly employed in the gig economy.

According to the analysis, the employment elasticity of gig workers to GDP growth was consistently higher than the general employment elasticity from 2011–12 to 2019–20.

The report suggested connecting self-employed people in the business of selling regional and rural cuisine, street food, etc. with platforms in order to enable them to sell their produce to larger markets in towns and cities in order to accelerate access to finance through products specifically designed for platform workers. Other suggestions include conducting a separate enumeration effort to calculate the amount of the workforce employed by gig-platforms and gathering data during official enumerations.

According to the survey, the retail and sales industry employed over 26.6 lakh gig workers, and the transportation industry employed nearly 13 lakh. The industrial sector employed about 6.2 lakh people, and the financial and insurance sectors employed another 6.3 lakh.

According to the analysis, gig work requiring different abilities will likely develop but the dominance of medium skills will likely last until 2030. The rapidly expanding gig economy, according to the research, is bringing about a new economic revolution on a worldwide scale.

The report pointed out that there is an emerging positive trend that suggests women are more likely to take up platform jobs after their education and marriage.

It suggested bridging skill gaps by carrying out periodic assessments and partnering with platform businesses for onboarding skilled women and persons with disabilities.

The paper made a case for rewarding inclusive firms, such as platforms run by women or those that support hiring women and people with disabilities.

Speaking at the event, Suman Bery, vice chairman of NITI Aayog, predicted that the report would help people comprehend the potential of the industry and encourage more study and analysis of gig and platform work.

(With PTI inputs)

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