IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 5th Jan
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, he turned into a butterfly.” —Proverb
EDITORIAL HUNT #299 :“Solutions to Urban Unemployment | UPSC ”
Vineet John Samuel
Solutions to Urban Unemployment | UPSC
Vineet John Samuel is a German Chancellors Fellow based out of the Hertie School of Governance
Quality gigs, a solution to urban unemployment
With no urban equivalent to the NREGA as yet, there must be a focus on supporting new forms of employment
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : DPSP : Wages : Schemes
NREGA is still being unable to fulfil demands for nearly 13% of the 75 million households that demanded work. What are other employment solution available to harness urban opportunities and fill millions of stomach.Discuss -(GS 2)
- V Shaped Recovery
- NREGA Outlay
- Case Study
- Way Forward
- HISTORIC CONTRACTION : The Indian economy is gradually finding its feet after a historic contraction of negative 23.9% in the April-June quarter.
- V SHAPED RECOVERY : The economic commentators have busied themselves with debating the need for fiscal expansion and the viability of a “V-shaped recovery”.
- SHARP DOWNTURN : These debates, however, have shifted focus away from the employment question, considered resolved after a sharp rally following the collapse in employment numbers in April.
- LATEST UNEMPLOYMENT DATA : The latest numbers pointing to a sharp rise in the national unemployment rate from 6.51% in November to 9.06% for the month of December.
- PRINCIPLE EMPLOYMENT SOURCE : For labour flocking back to rural India, employment support came in the form of an increased outlay for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGA), which witnessed a 243% increase in person workdays.
- INCREASED DEPENDENCY ON NREGA : It has been seen that Rural Development Ministry spent nearly 90% of its increased ₹86,4000 crore allocation by the month of November.
- DISGUISED UNEMPLOYMENT : In several Indian cities however, shuttered businesses have meant that millions of workers have either had to leave or have had to take up new forms of work.
THE METRICS USED
- KEY PARAMETERS : The report evaluates the well-being of gig workers on 11 digital platforms and does so by evaluating them on five metrics of Fair Pay, Fair Conditions, Fair Contracts, Fair Management and Fair Representation.
- TOPPERS LIST : In its findings however, only two firms (Urban Company and Flipkart) score greater than five (out of a maximum of 10) while seven score only 2 or less.
- CONCERNS : Most concerning perhaps, is the fact that the bottom of the rankings are rounded off by India’s four largest platform giants, namely, Uber, Ola, Swiggy and Zomato.
- EVALUATION OF DISCLOSURES : Our current understanding of gig work and workers remains constrained to the limited disclosures made by the platforms themselves.
- UNEMPLOYMENT REGULATORS : Few independent studies evaluating the scale and impact of these platforms, most regulators continue to remain in the dark on basic questions surrounding platform labour
ISSUE OF REGULATION
- The reason for the sensitivity primarily revolves around the varied nature of gig work.
- While some workers use these platforms as a “side hustle”, for others it continues to serve as a primary source of employment.
- This dynamic is further complicated by the risk of a one-size-fits-all regulatory strategy unintentionally hurting the similar, yet distinct, market for highly skilled freelancers continues its rapid growth.
- The simultaneous creation of jobs, alongside the voluntary adoption of quality standards is an example of a mutually beneficial partnership between the state and a platform that creates jobs while incentivising greater levels of compliance.
- IMPORTANT INTERVENTIONS : Similar collaborations on urban employment, that require labour platforms to comply with disclosure norms and worker compensation standards to access government support.
- COLLABORATING WITH PLATFORMS : For employ workers, this would not only bring down costs significantly but it would also create an environment where firms would be more likely to cooperate with the state.
- OUT OF BOX MEASURES : As the new year rolls in, and India looks to convince the world that it has turned the corner on its economic woes, it must look to step outside the box to tackle the challenge of urban unemployment.
- ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE : With Industry 4.0 platforms absorbing increasing numbers of the urban workforce, evaluation, collaboration, and regulation must be the government mantra.
- STANDARD OF LIVING : As the pandemic forces India to define its own understanding of the future of work, it falls upon the state to ensure that this future is defined not only by the quantity of jobs it creates but also by the quality of livelihoods they provide for .