Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Hon’ble Mr. Ashok Gehlot is aggressively launching welfare schemes with especial focus to cover the underprivileged, the deprived, rural folks and tribals for elevating their economic status. His visionary zeal has transformed the state into one of equal opportunities across every domain ranging from education, health, skilling, employment opportunities and social security and a lot more.
India’s First Ever Bill for Gig Workers
In his continued efforts to bring social parity by hand-holding the lesser privileged sections of the society, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is relentlessly working towards passing legislations across various social security themes and ensuring that they are implemented in the true spirit on ground, keeping a hawks eye on the progress of each one of them. One such noteworthy initiative was recently witnessed when in the budget of 2023-24, CM Gehlot announced provision for social security to gig workers by introducing the Gig Workers Welfare Act and under it, constituting a Gig Workers Welfare Board for which Rs 200 crores fund was allocated. The Rajasthan Assembly passed the bill on Monday the 24th July, which brings gig workers under the ambit of labour protection. This unique initiative is envisioned to benefit lakhs of gig workers and safeguard them from exploitation.
The Bill is significant as it addresses the deceptive classification by companies like Ola, Uber, Swiggy, Zomato, and Amazon of the gig workers as ‘partners’ rather than employees escaping from coming under the purview of labour laws that warranty scrutiny and stringent adherence to set guidelines. It deprives the ‘partners’ of social security cover rendering gig workers, vulnerable, despite their immense contribution to the state economy, which goes unaccounted and unrecognised.
The Rajasthan Platform Based Gig Workers Welfare Board, will constitute of two members each from gig workers and aggregators to be nominated by the state government, besides two civil servants. The board will ensure registration of gig workers and aggregators operating in the state and based on the data, which will be maintained by the state government, a unique ID will be generated for each one of them. The platform will also provide gig workers access to social security schemes meant for them, opportunity to be heard for any grievances, ensure appropriate grievance redressal mechanism and allow them to participate in all their welfare decision making through representation in the board. The bill also has provision for penalties if aggregators default on payment of welfare fee within the stipulated time, which may extend up to ₹5 lakh for the first lapse, and up to ₹50 lakh for subsequent lapses.
Mahatma Gandhi Minimum Income Guarantee Act
Making history through social welfare programmes, and motivated by the pledge that no one sleeps on empty stomach in his state, CM Gehlot is yet again coming up with a new bill where the Rajasthan state government takes guarantee to provide job to a person within 15 days, irrespective of urban or rural areas. In a media interaction on 22 July, replying to a reporter, he said, “We are coming up with stringent guidelines, including disbursing payment for 30 days at the home if the person does not get work within the stipulated time, on similar lines of MNREGA. We will advertise about the new law, which we are making meant actually for the poor, and spread awareness.” He added, “Most importantly, the rural and tribal population are getting guarantee of 200 days of work under NEREGA.”
He informed, “We are working to complete all the guidelines for the Act as soon as possible and efforts are on to implement it before 15th August. Personally, I would like to say that NEREGA, Mahatma Gandhi Minimum income guarantee, Indira Gandhi Shehri Rozgar Yojana or pension yojana, they strengthen the economy of the state. We also allocate huge funds for spending in tribal areas, where people are generally poor, during one of my recent visit, they said to me that after implementation of NERGA scheme it has changed the economic scenario, remarkably. I believe that more the money spent on poor, more the economy strengthens.”
Stating that the welfare programmes so far have been successful such as ‘Palna yojana” that benefitted 6 lakh orphaned and differently abled children, which not only gives the poor the right to avail the scheme, but also benefit from it. He said that people are living a better quality of life due to pension scheme for which the state government is spending Rs 12-13 thousand crores, free medical treatment upto Rs 10 lakhs, unemployment stipend etc., all of which should be brought under minimum guarantee scheme,” adding, “Gainful employment is a challenge, and social security is necessary to be implemented in the country to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. This is a small initiative in that direction by me.”