What does India’s first gig workers’ rights Bill stipulate?

  • Recently, the Rajasthan government passed the Rajasthan Platform Based Gig Workers (Registration and Welfare) Bill, 2023.
  • It is the first legislation of its kind in India outlining welfare schemes for the State’s approximately three lakh gig workers.

Provisions of the bill

  • Applies to “aggregators” (digital intermediaries connecting buyers and sellers) and “primary employers” (individual or organisations engaging platform-based workers).
  • Proposes a Welfare Board comprising:
    • State officials
    • Five representatives each from gig workers and aggregators
    • Two others from civil society

About the Welfare Board

  • The Board will “set up a welfare fund, register platform-based gig workers, aggregators and primary employers, facilitate guarantee of social security to platform-based gig workers and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
  • The Board will maintain a database of companies and workers and each worker will receive a unique ID which “shall be valid in perpetuity.”
  • The Welfare Board is expected to formulate schemes “for social security,” listing only accidental insurance and health insurance, and “other benefits concerning health, accident and education as may be prescribed.”
  • Another responsibility of the Welfare Board should be to assist workers in negotiating contracts by developing standard formats and principles for aggregators.


  • The Board will create a “Social Security and Welfare Fund” comprising contributions made by individual workers, State government aids, other sources and a ‘welfare cess’ — a cut from each transaction — which the aggregator is required to pay.
  • The rate of the welfare cess will not exceed 2% nor fall short of 1% of the value of “each transaction,” and aggregators are required to submit the amount within the first five days of a month.
  • Unions objected to contributing to the fund, arguing that it should be sourced only from aggregator companies and State funds, owing to the fluctuating and inadequate nature of pay.

Recognition of workers’ rights

  • Under existing labour laws, gig workers who are named ‘partners’ by platforms are not ‘employees’ because theirs is not a “fixed term of employment” — marked by providing exclusive service to one provider for a specified duration.
  • The Code on Social Security, passed in 2020 and yet to be implemented, carried “restrictive criteria” about eligibility which are done away with in the Rajasthan Bill.
  • The Bill states any person has the right to be registered the minute they join an app-based platform, regardless of the duration of work or how many providers they work for.

Workers’ grievances

  • Gig workers “have an opportunity to be heard for any grievances” with “entitlements, payments and benefits provided under the Act.”
  • As per Section 15, a worker can file a petition physically before an officer or online through the web portal.
  • The employer can object to the order within 90 days before an ‘Appellate Authority’.
  • Several reports have documented ineffective and unresponsive redressal mechanisms.

Accountability of aggregators

  • An aggregator’s duties under the Bill include:
    • depositing welfare cess on time
    • updating the database of gig workers,
    • documenting any variations in numbers within one month of such changes
  • If they fail to comply, they will be fined up to ₹5 lakh for the first offence and ₹50 lakh for further violations;
  • Primary employers will pay up to ₹10,000 for the first offence and ₹2 lakh for subsequent violations.

Representatives from gig workers, aggregators, and civil society form the Welfare Board.

Gig Economy

  • The free market system is one in which it is common for organizations to contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. Additionally, temporary positions are common in this system..
  • Gig Worker: A person who performs work or participates in work arrangements and earns from such activities outside of the typical employer-employee relationship is referred to as a gig worker, as defined by the Code on Social Security, 2020. This definition was adopted in 2020.
  • After the United States of America, China, Brazil, and Japan, India is the fifth largest country in the world in terms of flexi-staffing..
  • Gig workers can be broadly classified into:
    • Platform workers: These workers are those whose work is based on online software apps or digital platforms such as food aggregator platforms Zomato, Swiggy, Ola, and others.
    • Non-platform workers: These workers are generally casual wage and own-account workers in conventional sectors engaged part-time or full-time.