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Despite lack of funds, Karnataka govt issues order on gig workers’ welfare | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: The Karnataka government, the second state government in the country after Rajasthan, on Monday issued an order that provides social security of Rs 4 lakh– Rs 2 lakh as life cover and Rs 2 lakh as accidental insurance– for the estimated 2.3 lakh gig workers in the state.
The government order (GO) clearly states that Karnataka does not have any record on how many gig workers are functioning in the state but has relied on a Niti Ayog report of 2022 that has estimated the number of gig workers in the state.
The GO speaks of the need for the scheme to ensure that gig workers, who are on the clock to deliver products race against time and many a times are susceptible to accidents. Further, considered as part of the unorganised sector, they are not covered under any specific life or health cover.
As per the guidelines issued for the scheme, any person who is between the age of 18-60 years and has been working as a gig worker with any online food delivery or e-commerce platform company for a period of at least one year will be eligible for the social security scheme.
The scheme provides Rs 4 lakh in case the gig worker has died during an accident, which includes the Rs 2 lakh accident coverage as well.
As for accident coverage alone, the cover will be provided to the gig worker based on the extent of the injury and disability after the accident.
For hospitalization, a sum of up to Rs 1 lakh will be reimbursed.
To register for the scheme, the state government has asked the gig workers to register on the Seva Sindhu portal with their details including passport size photograph and E-Shramik card along with their proof of address and bank account details.
The benefits can be claimed within one year of the accident or death of the gig worker.
But there are exclusionary clauses as well. The guidelines state that if a gig worker is an income tax payee or has provident fund or ESI then he or she will not be eligible for the scheme.
Even if, on the job, the gig worker is under the influence of alcohol or drugs which result in accident or death then he or she will not be eligible for the scheme benefits.
The worker family cannot claim the benefits if the gig worker dies by suicide, intentionally committing an act of accident to hurt someone or if there is an accident due to mental instability.
But the bigger concern is that the government has not spelt out in clear as to how the scheme will be funded.
Under the allocations for the scheme, the state government has said that it will provide certain state grants and also seek for additional grants from the centre under section 7 (2) and (3) of the unorganised workers social security act of 2008.
Further, it has said that the government can seek the funds from the employers and employees as well for the scheme apart from corporate social responsibility (CSR) funding and “any such approved mechanisms by the state government”.
Finance department officials suggest that it is difficult to estimate at the present juncture on the exact requirement for the scheme and the GO has been issued as it was a budgetary announcement by the chief minister.
However, speaking to TOI, labour minister Santosh Lad said chief minister Siddaramaiah has authorised the release of Rs 25 crore as seed money for the gig workers social security scheme and is waiting for final orders on this.

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