Urban Unemployment and Role of Industry 4.0 – UPSC GS3

  • Decreasing conventional job opportunities and rising unemployment in urban areas.
  • No MGNREGA like guaranteed employment program in urban areas.
  • MGNREGA witnesses a 243% increase in-person workdays during the pandemic.
Industry 4.0 and Gig workers:
  • The changing times have witnessed the burgeoning of the gig economy. In a gig economy, large numbers of people work in part-time or temporary positions or as independent contractors.
  • The result of a gig economy is cheaper, more efficient services. Internet access facilitates the gig economy.
  • Challenges faced by Gig workers:
    • Low well-being: The Fair work Foundation‘s annual report puts India’s 4 largest platform giants, (Uber, Ola, Swiggy and Zomato) in the bottom of their rankings.
    • No official data available: lack of authoritative estimates of the number of workers involved.
    • Varied nature of gig work: So, one size fit all approach can not be adopted.
Partnership approach:
  • Taking into consideration the nature of complexity, a more feasible way forward will involve conditional government partnerships with platforms under some of its flagship schemes.
  • Case Study: Successful pilot of Swiggy’s Street Food Vendors programme under the PM Street Vendor’s Atma Nirbhar Nidhi scheme. While Swiggy has announced the onboarding of 36,000 street food vendors onto the platform under the scheme this month, it has also looked to ensure that each vendor is registered and certified by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.
  • The simultaneous creation of jobs, alongside the voluntary adoption of quality standards, is an example of a symbiotic relationship between the state and a platform that creates jobs while incentivising greater levels of compliance.
Conclusion: With Industry 4.0 platforms absorbing increasing numbers of the urban workforce, the government mantra must be evaluation, collaboration, and regulation along with symbiotic relationship with new partners.
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