In a groundbreaking development, Jharkhand has etched its name in history as the first state in India to take affirmative steps towards bringing gig workers, such as employees of Swiggy, Zomato, Ola, Uber, and Rapido, within the purview of minimum wage regulations. This initiative represents a significant stride towards ensuring fair remuneration for those operating in the dynamic gig economy. Furthermore, Jharkhand’s proactive approach in contemplating minimum wage standards for gig workers while reevaluating those for other labor sectors underscores the state’s unwavering commitment to fostering local employment and championing social justice.
To facilitate this transition, the Jharkhand State Minimum Wage Advisory Council, operating under the state’s labor department, has convened a committee comprising prominent figures from diverse sectors. The committee boasts the expertise of individuals such as Labour Commissioner Sanjiv Kumar Besra, Minimum Wage Board Director Rajesh Prasad, Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce & Industries President Kishor Mantri, Jharkhand INTUC President Rakeshwar Pandey, and representatives from trade unions like CITU, BMS, and AITUC.
The primary objective of this committee is to conduct a comprehensive examination of the working conditions encountered by gig workers, including those engaged in delivery and ride-hailing services. Based on their findings, the committee will formulate recommendations concerning minimum wage standards specifically tailored to these workers’ needs.
It’s worth noting that approximately 12 lakh individuals are estimated to be involved in gig work across various districts in Jharkhand, making this initiative pivotal in elevating the livelihoods of a significant segment of the state’s workforce.
In addition to their focus on gig workers, Jharkhand is also reviewing the minimum wage standards applicable to laborers engaged on a contract basis across industrial, business, and public or private institutions.
Furthermore, the state is in the process of categorizing its cities into three distinct groups:
- ‘A’ Category: Encompassing major cities like Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Dhanbad, and Bokaro.
- ‘B’ Category: Comprising Municipal Corporations, Municipalities, and Municipal Councils.
- ‘C’ Category: Representing rural and remote rural areas.
Minimum wage determinations will be made based on these categorizations, accounting for the cost of living and the nature of work in each of these areas.
To provide some context, Jharkhand, with Ranchi as its capital and Hemant Soren as the Chief Minister, is characterized by the Sacred Tree as its official flower and the melodious Koel as its bird.