In September 2021, the Centre for Internet and Society and IT for Change co-organized a strategy meeting on the government's newly launched e-Shram portal, designed to deliver targeted social security benefits to informal sector workers. This strategy meeting brought together civil society representatives, researchers, academics, trade unions, and worker organizations, to share their experiences navigating this portal.
This endeavor was supported by the Internet Society Foundation, IDRC, Canada, the European Union, and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
1. Covid 19 and Platform Work: Reflections on Institutional Policy Responses
The first output as part of this collaborative effort is an issue brief on the impact of the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns on platform workers in India, who are emerging as a new class of the urban
precariat. The report explores institutional responses to their predicament - from the state as well as platform companies - and examines the efficacy of these measures in addressing workers' economic
distress and vulnerability. Emerging findings from this research served as an entry point for discussions on strengthening and improving the e-Shram portal towards the goal of universal social security coverage.
2. A Civil Society Agenda for e-Shram
This report, in addition to crystallizing discussions at the meeting, highlights challenges that actors on the ground have faced and proceeds to outline a broad set of recommendations from civil society organizations for the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India, on how to strengthen the design and implementation of the e-Shram portal.
3. Workshop on 'Social Security for App-based Transport Workers'
IFAT in partnership with FES organized a two-day workshop in Kolkata on 'Social Security for App-based Transport Workers', which saw participation of close to 25-30 workers belonging to different worker unions from various regions and states of the country. Sakhi Shah from IT for Change attended the workshop and presented to the group the meaning and importance of the Social Security Code, 2020 along with the central and state-level rules formulated for the implementation of the Code. The presentation focused largely on the impact of these rules on gig and platform workers. All the workers present were a part of a state regional-level union, the presentation and discussions also focused on the importance of unionization for gig and platform workers, and how the respective unions can and should participate in the public consultation process as and when their respective states introduce rules to complement to the Code.