The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has recommended the central government to include gig workers in India's pension fold. Presently, gig workers are not enrolled in the National Pension Scheme (NPS), the voluntary pension service scheme in India.
Supratim Bandyopadhyay, Chairman of PFRDA, told Reuters that the regulator's proposal aims to bring 90 per cent of the country's workforce into the NPS by automatically enrolling gig workers to the pension scheme.
The NPS, started in 2004, currently has 1.67 crore subscribers, mostly from government and private sectors. Much of India's unorganised sector, which houses close to 90 per cent of India's workforce, do not enjoy any social security benefits.
Bandyopadhyay added that the regulator also suggested the government to double the existing tax exemption limit to make the NPS scheme more attractive. Such a move will take the exemption limit to one lakh rupees.
The proposed move is modelled on UK's pension scheme wherein every employer, even those with just one employee, has to enrol their staff in a pension scheme and contribute towards it.
Earlier this year, the NITI Aayog had released a report which estimated the number of gig workers in India at around 1 crore for 2022-23. This was a 45 per cent increase from the 2019-20 numbers.
Gig workers constitute a large section of delivery and sales personnel in India, who are not officially recognised as employees of the companies they work for. Across the country, gig workers providing services for e-commerce, food delivery and other app-based companies have been demanding better pay and working conditions.