Life is no bed of roses for India’s increasing number of gig workers. While the government is mulling over extending social security benefits to over 77 lakh gig workers, a new study titled GigPlus by LEAD at Krea University and fintech start-up KarmaLife says that an average gig-worker makes around ₹18,000 a month with ₹5,000 as an average monthly deficit.

The survey conducted between December 2021 and February 2022 says that, close to 74 per cent of the gig workers do not have savings. According to a latest report by NITI Aayog, the share of gig workers among the employed is rising by the year and over 60 per cent of them work in the unorganised sector as informal workers. 

The money fact

“A gig worker’s reported median and mean monthly income is ₹18,000 and ₹18,600, respectively,” says GigPlus, adding, “87 per cent (of the workers) also report receiving an incentive of ₹2,000 in the previous month.” In close to 40 per cent of the cases, a gig worker is the primary earner in the household.

Despite not saving money and having an income deficit, the report says that gig workers mostly (about 66 per cent) don’t track their expenses.

Elaborating on their woes, the NITI Aayog report says, “Lack of job security, irregularity of wages, and uncertain employment status are significant challenges noted by studies in the gig and platform sector. The uncertainty associated with regularity in the available work and income may lead to increased stress and pressure for workers.” Corroborating this, the Gigplus report says that 69 per cent of the people whom they surveyed feared that they “may be removed from this job and the income it brings to their family will suddenly stop.”

Who employs them?

The NITI Aayog report estimates that India will have 23.5 million gig workers by 2030. According to the report, currently 39 per cent of them are employed in retail trade.

A report by Tracxn says that 11,208 companies worldwide employ gig workers. Of them, 2,008 are located in India. India is the second-highest number of gig employers globally. Also, a quarter of the top gig employers are located in India. The top gig employers are Swiggy, Zomato, Ola, Bigbasket and Urban Company.