Connect with us

Economy

Gig economy offers alternative

Published

on

Nilanjan Banik
Kaushik Banik is a happy person these days. He is a software developer. After toiling hard for months to get a job, he finally found an alternative, thanks to the Upwork, an online digital job platform. His hourly wage rate is $35 dollars. There are millions of others like Kaushik who are now getting benefitted from the advent of digital platforms. At a time, when fewer jobs are getting created in the organized sector (daily, less than 2 per cent Indians who apply for jobs get them), and the economy is slowing down, the silver lining lies in the spread of platform enabled gig economy. In India, it is estimated there are around 3 million gig workers. The number is certainly small if one were to compare it with India’s 500 million workers. However, the good part is an estimated 56 per cent of the new employment is generated by the gig world.
Delivery-boys, cleaners, consultants, bloggers, etc. are all part of the gig economy. Uber, Ola, Zomato, etc., are all part of the labour platform. As the work is job-specific, workers have the flexibility to work for more than one contractor and choose the hours of work. This has encouraged women in labour force participation. Women comprise more than a third of 15,000 users of the digital platform Souktel in the West Bank and Gaza region, compared to only 19 per cent of the entire labor force in the same area. The capital platform, such as Airbnb (providing lodging), Quick Ride (providing car-sharing service),etc., has provided better utilization of fixed assets such as cars and houses. A global survey of platform companies found there are around 180 platform companies valued at $4.5 trillion. Some of these services are bundled together. Uber not only provide taxi rental services but also has Uber Eats.
There are other related benefits. The lower price of service associated with the gig economy has generated consumer surplus which can be spent on other sectors, with a multiplier effect on income and employment generation. Taxi services by Uber and Ola, has reduced taxi fares in major cities in India. There has been a reduction in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents and traffic congestion. Carpool and car-sharing have environmental benefit as it contributes to a low carbon-footprint.
Growth of platform enabled services has led to the formalization of the economy and provided means to finance India’s huge unbanked population. People are using apps such as Google pay, Amazon pay for buying goods and services. Even in advance economies like Singapore, studies point out, the advent of the gig economy has led to an increase in credit card sales.
As there are no entry barriers, anyone, and everyone can participate from anywhere. This has led to a demand for bloggers, researchers, consultants, from developing countries such as India, the Philippines, Bangladesh, etc. Their returns have gone up, as they are getting paid in US dollars. There are no barriers based on caste, religion, gender, and location. In the USA, a study points out before the advent of Airbnb, Afro-American rental hosts were getting 12 per cent less rent than the White American counterparts for the same type of house in the same location. UNICORN such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft are now investing in digital startups and even training workers as to how to make the best use of the online market.
There are several ways the Government can intervene to complement this self-evolving gig economy. It is important to ensure the supply of skilled labours. The United Kingdom Government is promoting robotics, 5G wireless internet, and smart technologies while asking private sectors to sponsor 300 master students and 200 doctoral students in artificial intelligence every year.
As much of the growth is supported through the ICT, the government should undertake investment in telecommunications, cyber-security, internet, and ensure widespread access. Investing in complementary infrastructure such as electricity connection, lowering logistics costs for setting up a business, and enforcing contracts will help.
There should be a way to usher in the ease of doing business, for instance, streamlining regulatory issues. In case of Uber, Ola, etc., the Government should minimize regulatory constraints so that is easy to obtain a driving license, ensure access to finance (giving soft loan to buy a car), and also see there is a way to harmonize the tax. Road tax paid in any state should be waived-off if the driver may choose to operate Ola/Uber in a different state in India. Likewise, for the provider of rental apartment services, the tax should be minimized if the provider is providing employment and lodging opportunities, particularly, in the rural areas. The small-time businessowners should not be charged any tax if they are accommodating transactions through paytm and e-wallets.
From the consumption-side, regulations related to data privacy have to be formed and importantly it has to be enforced. In a digital world, an enormous amount of data about individual and their activities are captured by the platform owners. These data are then bundled and sold to various companies without taking consent from the consumers. A market can be created by taking consent from the consumers, for instance where the consumers get some discount on the online platform if they agree to sell their data.
At the same time, to safeguard the interest of the consumers using on-demand services, there is a need to formulate rules to protect consumers from unscrupulous operators. Here the efficiency with which other Institutions such as the Competition Commission of India and consumer courts operate will be important. News reports abound with a bad experience with hotel and cab aggregators are not difficult to find.
For the workers, who are the main party in this gig-world, there is a need for ensuring social security. Cab drivers, delivery boys, technicians, etc., have reasons to be looked after in the event they fall sick, or meet with an accident. An overarching insurance scheme, the premium for which may be borne by the Government will be a welcome move. (IPA)

Source link

Economy

‘Lapsis’ and the Rise of Gig-Economy Sci-Fi

Published

on

By

Ray Tincelli, a good-humored, pot-bellied, middle-aged guy with a “’70s mobster” vibe and money troubles, is looking for a new gig. His day job as a courier for a sketchy lost baggage company isn’t cutting it. Played with hangdog charm by Dean Imperial—he looks like Jeremy Piven gone to seed—Tincelli is a brusque Queens dude who could be imported from any number of prestigious cable dramas. For these reasons and more, he’s the offbeat, magnetic center of Lapsis, the funny and surprisingly humane new science fiction indie from first-time feature director Noah Hutton.

The grubby world Ray inhabits looks like ours, but the details are slightly skewed. Ray’s younger half-brother Jamie (Babe Howard), a once-hearty hiker, is now sidelined with a mysterious chronic fatigue syndrome called Omnia. This syndrome is widespread enough that there’s an entire scammy cottage industry around treating it, and Ray is hoping to get his brother into a treatment center. After his courier job is kaput, he seeks advice from a slippery neighborhood character named Felix (James McDaniel), who hooks Ray up with a “cabling medallion” as long as Ray promises to share a cut of his profits. A twist on a taxi medallion, the cabling medallion is a black-market ticket into the world of “cabling,” a bustling new line of contract work where “cablers” spend their days stringing yards upon yards of fiber-optic cables through wooded areas to attach to large metal boxes plopped in forests. It’s all in service of quantum computing, a new information superstructure that has taken over the globe. According to Felix, they’re paid handsomely for their troubles. And so Ray goes forth, into the woods, huffing and puffing his way toward the enigmatic boxes and potential financial freedom.

Lapsis, which is currently available on VOD, is a film in the tradition of lo-fi sci-fi, a genre of independent, dialog-dense science fiction without high-budget spectacle. Think Robot & Frank, Primer, or Being John Malkovich. Or think Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, another satire about the gig economy set in a slightly alternate, slightly futuristic reality. Both are political parables, using genre to prod the callous excesses of capitalism. But while Sorry to Bother You is balls-to-the-wall bonkers, Lapsis is a gentler outing, unspooling its story through long hikes in the woods.

The mechanics of cabling make little sense, but the film isn’t concerned with explaining the logic of its quantum computing empire. The setup is as arcane to the average person as bitcoin mining, because the details don’t matter. What matters is that it’s the newest iteration of grunt work in a global economy reliant on low-paying, no-benefits contractors for human fuel. During his first week on the job, Ray doesn’t learn a thing about what plugging the wires into the boxes actually achieves; what he does learn is that the cabling underclass is justifiably and mightily pissed off—and that the cabling medallion he used once belonged to a notorious former cabler known as “Lapsis Beeftech.”

He learns even more once he strikes up a friendship with Anna (Madeline Wise), a seasoned cabler attempting to organize her coworkers. The cabling company uses tiny doglike robots as pacers for its human workers; if a robot passes them on the trail, it can steal their route and take their money. They’re the bane of the cablers, who scheme to derail the little machines, and the brainchild of the original Lapsis Beeftech. Anna helps Ray trap one of the pacers, and they become confidants. And despite his best efforts to keep his head down and continue earning, Ray is quickly embroiled in a larger plot to find the original Lapsis and instigate a worker revolt.

Source link

Continue Reading

Economy

Nigerian fintech startup ImaliPay raises pre-seed funding to service gig workers’ financial needs

Published

on

By

Nigerian startup ImaliPay, which leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and big data to offer tailored financial products that promote the inclusion of gig economy platforms and workers across Africa, has raised a round of pre-seed funding to scale more quickly.

Co-founded early last year by Tatenda Furusa and Sanmi Akinmusire, ImaliPay offers both new and existing gig workers or freelancers the ability to seamlessly save their income and receive in-kind loans through a buy now, pay later model tied to their trade.

As gig workers save money or repay loans on time, they are able to build a credit history that will in turn unlock more formal financial services in the future.

ImaliPay has secured an undisclosed amount of pre-seed funding in order to scale its customer base, with the round led by Australian venture capital firm TEN13, which has also invested in the likes of Chipper Cash and Bookipi. Other investors included in the raise are FINCA Ventures, Optimiser Foundation, Mercy Corps Ventures, Changecom, and angels from Nigeria, Kenya, Norway, and the United Kingdom (UK). 

The primary aim of the investment is to expand and accelerate its growth and footprint in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, with ImaliPay aiming to become the one-stop-shop for gig workers’ financial needs. 

“It’s a great opportunity for investors to participate in the fintech revolution and a fast-growing segment. Our vision at ImaliPay is to advance financial health and inclusion for gig workers who struggle to manage and access flexible financial services that are often only available to traditional SMEs”, said Furusa.

Source link

Continue Reading

Economy

Financial services ‘will see surge in gig workers’ – The Professional – Insurance News

Published

on

By

As much as a fifth of the work of financial services firms is likely to be done by gig workers by 2026, driven by a need for digitally skilled talent at insurers and banks, a new PwC report says.

A PwC survey of more than 500 financial services senior executives across 15 countries found 52% expect to have more gig-based employees over coming years.

Gig workers add value by immediately bringing digital skills to improve functions such as customer experience institutional resilience while the full-time workforce is being upskilled, PwC says.

Currently, gig-economy talent makes up just 5% of financial services businesses workforce but PwC predicts that in the next five years, gig workers will perform 15-20% of the work of a typical institution.

“Many of the most valuable companies in the world … operate with relatively few full-time employees and an increasing percentage of gig-economy talent and skills that they can access on-demand, making the organisations far more innovative, nimble and cost-efficient,” PwC Global Financial Services Leader John Garvey said.

Insurers need new capabilities as technology solutions increasingly involve collaboration with third parties. Despite this, most institutions still rely primarily on full-time and part-time employees, with contractors comprising just 9% of the workforce and gig-economy talent just 5%, PwC says.

Obstacles to using more gig workers are confidentiality concerns, lack of knowledge, regulatory and overall risk avoidance.

Still, Mr Garvey says leaders in insurance are looking seriously at their workforces to evaluate which roles need to be performed by permanent employees and which can be performed by gig-economy workers, contractors or even crowd-sourced on a case-by-case basis.

COVID-19 and remote working have opened the door to accessing talent outside a firm’s physical location, including outside the country.

“What we are seeing now is a talent marketplace for gig workers in financial services, competing to take advantage of their specialist skill set and boost productivity,” he says.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2019 Gigger.news.