The Economic Survey 2020-21 says: The nature of work has been changing with the change in technology, evolution of new economic activities, innovation in organization structures and evolving business models. Digital platforms have emerged as enablers for employment creation with the power to easily discover job seekers and job providers in the absence of middlemen. Apart from traditional forces, these new forces have created massive opportunities for the consumer and service provider to interact through innovative ways. Digital technology enables two-sided markets which saw the emergence of e-commerce and online retailing platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, Ola, Uber, Urban Clap, Zomato, Swiggy etc. India has emerged as one of the largest country for flexi-staffing in the world.
The lockdown period also saw employers preferring ‘Work from home’ of their employees, cutting down on staff strength and engaging freelancers or outsourcing tasks to reduce overhead costs as well as to hire skilled services. With increasing demand in industries for on hire project-specific consultants, logo/ content designers, web designers etc. for the white-collar workers, the delivery boys and taxi drivers engaged in platforms like Uber/Ola, Swiggy, Big Basket, Pizza Hut etc, are now showing potential as well. As a result, the gig economy has been popular amongst the workers in India. The benefit of the gig economy is that it allows flexibility in employer-employee relationship to both service seeker and service provider.
The nature of a job contract for a gig worker is different from the contract between an employer and employee/worker. Their labour contract is usually shorter and more specific to the task or job assigned. Their employment type might be either temporary or contractual and certainly not regular. The nature of payment against the work is more of piece rate, negotiable, may be as wage or partly as profit/reward than a fixed salary. The control over their work by employers varies in degree but in any case, is not full. The workers most of the time are flexible to decide on when to work, where to work etc.