3 min read.Updated: 26 Mar 2019, 01:19 AM ISTManish Sabharwal,Rituparna Chakraborty
To aid the generation of well-paying jobs, Indian policy should encourage rather than ban or bully formal self-employment
If Mahatma Gandhi had proposed independence to the Indian Civil Service, the latter would probably have rejected it for the lack of a precedent. The Karnataka transport department’s since-revoked six-month ban on all Ola cabs for the lack of a precedent of two-wheeler taxis, Rajasthan’s proposed curbs on Airbnb, and Maharashtra’s micro-specification of taxi fleet composition all represent the worst of an innovation-killing bureaucracy rooted in an incomplete understanding of the cutting edge of India’s labour markets. Technology platforms are finally enabling the productivity that differentiates India’s 200 million people in informal self-employment—largely self-exploitation because it often means employed poverty—from formal self-employment. We would like to make the case that while our laws have clear notions of formal employment, we urgently need to create the regulatory and statistical space for a new category of formal self-employment.