Spare a thought for our food delivery personnel

Source: The post is based on the article “Spare a thought for our food delivery personnel” published in Live Mint on 31st August 2023.

Syllabus: GS3- Indian Economy – Employment

News: In this article, the author talks about challenges for India’s food delivery workers in the gig economy. They mention issues like not enough work, bad working conditions, and lower wages. The author asks for better jobs and treatment for these workers.

What are the major outcomes of the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) study?

The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) study on India’s food delivery agents revealed:

Demographics: The majority of delivery agents are male, with nearly two-thirds under 30 years of age.

Education Levels: Surprisingly, over 45% have college degrees or technical training, suggesting underemployment.

Work Conditions: While they have formal contracts, their conditions aren’t necessarily better than informal-sector jobs.

Benefits and Drawbacks: Higher earnings and flexible hours attract many to the job. However, long-shift workers face tough conditions, with accident coverage as their sole health benefit.

Expenses: Agents must use their own phones, vehicles, and fuel. They aren’t compensated for advertising signage.

Career Prospects: Many view the role as a temporary job with limited growth potential.

Earnings: Over three years from 2019, their earnings did not keep up with inflation, effectively decreasing in real terms.

What needs to be done?

Fair Compensation: Ensure wages keep pace with inflation.

Benefits Improvement: Beyond just accident coverage, explore more comprehensive health and safety benefits.

Address Underemployment: Utilize the educational qualifications of agents for better roles within the industry.

Reimburse Expenses: Compensate for personal items used, like phones and vehicles.

Career Growth: Provide clear paths for upward mobility within the sector.

Welfare Measures: Explore levies on gig platforms, like Rajasthan’s initiative, for worker welfare.

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