India’s gig economy is estimated to employ 7.7 million people and is set to nearly triple to 23.5 million by 2029-30, a new report by the NITI Aayog said on Monday.
The report, ‘India’s Booming Gig and Platform Economy’, is the first attempt by a policy think-tank to assess the current size of gig workers – those engaged in livelihoods outside the traditional employer-employee arrangement – and the employment generation of the sector.
The study estimated that the number of gig workers increased from 6.8 million in 2019-20 (1.3% of the country’s workforce) to 7.7 million in 2020-21 (1.5% of the total workforce), and could rise to 23.5 million workers in 2029-30 when it will account for 4.1% of the total workforce.
Retail trade and sales account for the largest share of gig workers, about 2.7 million, followed next by 1.3 million in the transportation sector. “About 6.2 lakhs (0.6 million) were in manufacturing and another 6.3 lakhs (0.6 million) in the finance and insurance activities,” the report said.
The report classified about 31% of the 7.7 million jobs as low-skilled, 47% as medium-skilled and only 22% as high-skilled jobs. But it underlined that there was a trend where the concentration of workers in the medium skills was gradually declining and that of the low skilled and high skilled was increasing.
NITI Aayog vice-chairman Suman Bery described the report unveiled at an event on Monday as a valuable knowledge resource in understanding the potential of the sector and driving further research and analysis on gig and platform work.
The report recommended accelerating access to finance through products specifically designed for platform workers, and linking self-employed individuals engaged in the business of selling regional and rural cuisines, and street food with platforms that enables them to sell their products to wider markets.
NITI Aayog chief executive officer Amitabh Kant said the recommendations will serve as a crucial resource for ministries, state governments, training providers, platform companies and other stakeholders to work in collaboration for promoting growth and employment opportunities in this sector.