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The gig economy has the potential to serve up to 90 million jobs, add nearly 1.25% to India’s GDP, while creating millions of jobs for low-income workers, says a report.

According to a new report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which was developed in partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the gig economy has grown significantly in the past decade with the advent of technology platforms like Ola, Uber, Swiggy, UrbanCompany, among others, it still has lots of room to grow.

The study titled ‘Unlocking the Potential of the Gig Economy in India’ provides a detailed look at the gig economy’s potential and sheds light on its dynamics, pain points and opportunities for action.

In addition to identifying the potential to serve up to 30% of India’s non-farm employment, the report identifies nearly 5 million jobs in shared services roles and about 12 million jobs in households that could potentially be served via the gig economy. Most of the jobs served will be in the MSME and Households sectors.

“The gig economy presents a real opportunity for India to drive job creation and economic growth,” said BCG Principal and the lead author of the report Rajah Augustinraj.

“Technology platforms operating at-scale within an ecosystem of information and services can help unlock efficiencies, bring demand-supply transparency, and drive greater formalisation and financial inclusion. Our work puts numbers, specificity and a roadmap to unlock this potential for India,” he added in the report.

Increase in number of gig workers

The report also presents findings from detailed primary research with gig workers showing that they are not a homogeneous group. Instead, gig workers fall into eight distinct segments with each segment picking up gig work for different reasons and prioritising different sets of job drivers.

Depending on the industry and type of service, the report details pre-requisites from the workers’ perspective to engage with and continue using gig work as a source of livelihood and income.

“During the lockdown, we saw a steady increase in the number of gig workers in India. People who had lost jobs were finding gig opportunities closer to home. The gig economy has the potential to help people in the unorganised sector learn new skills, and help them build a better quality of life for themselves and their families,” said Michael & Susan Dell Foundation Director India Programs Rahil Rangwala.

The report also outlines a roadmap for unlocking India’s gig economy at-scale and the roles that entrepreneurs, investors, non-governmental organisations, and policy makers must play to create an ecosystem that is vibrant, flexible, and inclusive of all workers.

While many platforms have built compelling offerings on their own, unlocking the gig economy’s full potential will require an ecosystem of public policy, information and data flow architecture, and supporting services.

“Our intent through this report is to build a narrative that would equip business leaders, policymakers, and social entrepreneurs with the data and insights needed to create livelihood pathways for low-income workers while delivering economic growth via the gig economy,” said BCG Managing Director and Partner, Tech, Media & Telecom Practice Vikash Jain.


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