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Economic Survey | ‘COVID-19 lockdown led to increasing role of gig economy’

Survey flags want for incentivising girls to be part of work pressure, lack of information on migrant staff

The Economic Survey 2020-2021, which was tabled in Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday, mentioned the COVID-19 lockdown gave a lift to the gig economic system, whereas it had an “inevitable impact on the vulnerable and informal sector, the education system, and on the economy as a whole”.

Economic Survey 2021 updates


The Survey flagged the dearth of information on migrant staff, stating that it was tough to inform what number of inter-State migrants had misplaced their jobs and lodging throughout the pandemic. The survey highlighted want for funding in childcare services and non-discriminatory practices at workplaces to incentivise girls to be part of the workforce.


“During the period of COVID-19 induced lockdown, the increasing role of the gig economy was evident with significant growth of online retail business. The lockdown period also saw employers preferring ‘Work from home’ of their employees, cutting down on staff strength and engaging freelancers or outsourcing tasks to reduce overhead costs as well as to hire skilled services,” it said.


Gig or platform staff had lacked primary rights and social safety until the latest Code on Social Security, 2020 was launched. “COVID-19 has exposed the vulnerability of urban casual workers, who account for 11.2 per cent of urban workforce (All-India) as per PLFS [Periodic Labour Force Survey], January-March, 2020, a significant proportion of them are supposed to be migrants who were impacted by the lockdown. About 63.19 lakh migrant workers travelled through Shramik Special trains from May-August 2020. With limited data available on inter-state migration and employment in informal sectors, it is difficult to figure the numbers of migrants who lost jobs and accommodation during the pandemic and returned home,” the Survey famous.


Female participation in workforce

The survey famous that girls spent extra time on unpaid home work (7.5 hours) and care-giving actions in contrast to employment associated work (5.7 hours) a day, citing the Time Use Survey, 2019. This, it mentioned, was one of the principle causes for low feminine participation within the workforce.


“In order to incentivise more women to join into the labour force, investment in institutional support to affordable and quality child care facilities, paid paternal leave, family-friendly work environment, and support for elderly care needs to be made. There is also a need to promote non-discriminatory practices at the workplace like pay and career progression, improve work incentives, including other medical and social security benefits for female workers,” the Survey report mentioned.


In 2018-2019, the labour pressure was estimated to be about 51.8 crore, of which 48.8 crore had been employed and three crore unemployed.

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