Gig Economy of India – Issues & Solutions in 2020

Project-to-project basis work is soon gaining momentum even in India, as the gig economy is entering its second phase of organised development (with market-wide acceptance and adoption). The application-based platforms offering services like cab booking, house renting, food (doorstep) delivery are estimated to employ over 2 lakh people in companies such as Ola, Zomato, Swiggy, UBER, etc. While profitability has soared for such companies, employee exploitation has also increased resultant to which the government has exhibited mindfulness towards ensuring employee welfare by developing the required legal framework.

The gig economy is here to stay in India, as is evident by the recent initiative taken by the prestigious National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru, of submitting draft guidelines for the gig economy. NLSIU is set to submit the draft guidelines to the government in February 2020, thereafter; the Karnataka government would either table a bill in the assembly or frame suitable guidelines under the purview of the incumbent laws meant to protect the rights of employees. Notably, the Karnataka state legislature’s upcoming budget session might see the draft getting tabled, reports Times of India. It has also been clarified that upon the draft being prepared by NLSIU, it might get debated in an open forum.

However, it’s a fair question to ask that has our labour market matched the pace with the incoming of the gig nature of work? Assuming a full-time gig work summons constant development of certain innate skills that are vital for gig workers, these are: entrepreneurship, networking, financials, and a knack of deciphering human psyche. While in India, at present there isn’t any regulation to standardise rates paid to gig workers. This makes mastering the art of negotiation a prerequisite to a thriving gig work career. Soaring tech usage in India has escalated those who have previously worked in the unorganised sector to be able to obtain better employment. However, even then, the jobs created in the gig economy mostly still get developed in the informal space, wherein some red flags do exist when attempting to apply this model in reality.

Essentially, new concepts like the formation of a Universal Basic Income (UBI), skill development programmes, ensuring availability of secured gig-based employment and freelance opportunities, and workplace protection, among others, is necessary to be looked upon. Hopefully the draft guidelines for the gig economy initiative underway at the NLSIU is received well by the Karnataka government and the state legislature, and upon implementation of the same, other states and governments also show active interest in inculcating the same spirit and safety in their respective regional gig workforce. The flexible work economy isn’t going anywhere, with increased adoption of technology and the availability of seamless payment avenues all that is remaining to be dealt with to make the gig economy a thriving market for the workforce is safety, security, and assurance of reasonable remuneration.

The BCG 2019 Report: The New Freelancers, states, “As per a survey of 6500 senior executives worldwide, 40% of respondents said they expected freelance workers to account for an increased share of their organization’s workforce over the coming five years.” (FlexingIT Project Trend Data: 2018-2019.

FlexingIT research also states that, “over a 3rd of companies in India estimate up to 50% reliance on flexible talent in the next 5 years.” Per a study conducted by McKinsey, estimations indicate that up to 20%-30% of the workforce in developed markets is engaged in independent work.Also, as reported by ASSOCHAM recently, the Gig Economy of India is definitely marching towards becoming a strong component of India Inc’s strategy as the sheer size of the gig economy is projected to grow at a CAGR of 17%, whereas it is likely to hit a gross volume of $455 billion by 2023.

Decoding FASTag: How National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) Works?

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has built the RFID-enabled National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program poised to fulfil the electronic tolling needs of the transport market of India. For the same objective, NPCI now offers a national interoperable toll-payment solution that also inculcates within its scope the offering of clearinghouse services for settlement of disputes. Within its spectrum of offering ‘Interoperability’ (applied to NETC system), it includes a common set of procedures, business rules and technical specifications allowing a customer to utilise their FASTag as a payment mode on either of the toll plazas, regardless of the specifics of the acquirer of the toll plaza.

The various objectives of NETC FASTag are: i. creating a compatible and interoperable toll-collection ecosystem to use nationally. ii. through a simple and robust framework, increase transparency and efficiency in transaction processing. iii. achieving the sub-goals of the Government of India of electronification of retail payments, reducing air pollution via decreased toll plaza congestion, plummeting fuel consumption and promoting cashless transactions, enhancing audit control via user account centralisation

NETC – the technical ecosystem on which the FASTag is based – supports multiple issuers and acquirers authorised for the NETC program. The transaction request from the Toll Plaza is sent to the Acquiring System for transactional validation, and it then moves further so as to finally reach the NETC Switch. The NPCI routes these transactions to the relevant Issuer Bank for debiting the tag-holder account. During the entire process, a particular transaction travels through an 8-step (LEGs) process.

The NETC transaction process flow emanates at the Toll Plaza System (capturing the FASTag data, viz. Tag ID, TID, Vehicle Class, etc.) and travels through the Acquirer Bank for processing, which then sends a request to the Online Switch & Mapper (i.e., the NETC validation mechanism that responds with such details as Vehicle class, VRN, Tag Status, etc. – upon an absence of the Tag ID in NETC Mapper, a response is issued stating that the Tag ID isn’t registered). Following the receipt of a Tag ID validation from the NETC Mapper, the acquirer host calculates the relevant toll fare and emanates a debit request to the NETC system. Then the NETC system switches the debit request to the relevant issuer bank for debiting the customer account.

The Issuer host then debits the linked tag holder account and sends an SMS alert to the tag holder. It also sends the response message to the NETC system. Upon failing to send the response within the defined TAT (Turn-Around-Time), the transaction is considered as Deemed Accepted. The response is then notified to the acquirer host for notifying the respective toll plaza system.

Know FASTag – The NextGen Smart Electronic Toll Collection System

NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) has introduced FASTag – a program for Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) on Toll Plazas on National Highways. FASTag is a simple to use electronic toll collection system. FASTag is a refillable tag that allows automatic deduction of toll charges – making it swift to pass the toll plazas. The Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL – a National Highways Authority of India incorporated company) and National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI), are executing the FASTag program in cooperation with the Toll Plaza Concessionaires, FASTag Issuer Agencies, and Toll Transaction Acquirer (certified banks).

FASTag

With FASTag, stopping for the cash transaction at toll plaza is now passé. Linked to a prepaid account that is used for deducting the applicable toll amount, the FASTag uses Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. It is affixed on the windscreen of the vehicle after activating the tag account. Touted to be a fitting solution to make the hassle-free trip on national highways a reality, FASTag is currently operational at 180 toll plazas across national and state highways of India.

FASTag, currently, can be bought from official Tag issuers or (22) certified Banks via various channels like Point-of-Sale (POS) at National Highway toll plazas, and even on the e-commerce platform, Amazon. Having a validity of 5 years, after purchasing FASTag, you will need to recharge or top-up it only as required. It offers an almost non-stop movement of vehicles all the way through toll plazas. The convenience of FASTag-enabled cashless payment of toll fee with nation-wide interoperable ETC Services has numerous advantages.

The FASTag benefits are as follows: 1. Saves Fuel and Time. 2. SMS alerts for toll transactions, low balance, etc. 3. Online recharge (via Credit Card / Debit Card / NEFT/ RTGS or Net Banking). 4. No need to carry cash – ease of payment. 5. Web portal for customers. 6. Reduced air pollution. 7. Reduced use of paper. 8. Minimised instances of toll payment hassles. 9. Enhanced highway management via analytics. 10. Toll plaza management made easy. 11. Eased central monitoring.

FASTag adoption was initially voluntary. However, starting 15th December 2019, FASTag adoption is mandatory – it’s applicable to all categories, kinds, makes and types of vehicles. FASTag is useable for as long as they are legible at the toll plaza and are not tinkered. However, it should be noted that using one FASTag is possible only for one vehicle.

India in the Global Microscope for Financial Inclusion 2018

Introduction

The Global Microscope report released periodically by the Economist Intelligence Unit gauges the enabling environment for financial inclusion (furthering the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals) considering 5 diverse categories (government and policy, stability and integrity, products and outlets, consumer protection, and infrastructure) and 55 countries. The 2018 research report witnessed the model development of the key enablers of financial inclusion. It also saw the inculcation of the indicators on digital financial services to the research methodology. The Global Microscope report essentially discusses the key growth topics of the developing economies: consumer protection, enabling environment, financial inclusion strategy, policy, regulation, and government initiatives, and trends. The Microscope assesses the regulatory and policy environment to which the key players in the financial inclusion domain are exposed to: banks, NBFCs, digital money issuers, and cross-border payment companies. The vital contributions of inclusive insurance, financial agents, FinTech firms, and credit information companies (CICs) are also examined.

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Why CIBIL score is important?

Before we get into the why, what is a CIBIL score?

To put in layman’s language, it is nothing but a 3 digit number between 300 to 900 decided by CIBIL, a Credit Information company based on all your credit-related activity within the financial system. This number acts as the first impression for the lender, the higher the score, the better the chances of the loan/credit card being approved. Hence, a CIBIL score is a clear indication to a bank about your financial history on which your credit-worthiness is decided. Continue reading “Why CIBIL score is important?”

Empowering The Gig Economy: All You Need To Know

The expression “gig economy” alludes to a general workforce condition in which here and now commitment, impermanent contracts, and independent contracting is ordinary. It’s additionally alluded to as the “specialist economy,” “agile workforce,” “sharing economy,” or “independent workforce.” You may believe it’s a trendy expression, and you’d be correct, yet the boundless development of new businesses supporting the gig economy (and the number of laborers utilizing them) is a certain sign that the idea of work as we know it is changing. Continue reading “Empowering The Gig Economy: All You Need To Know”

Financial Inclusion: All you need to know

Financial inclusion is where people and organizations approach valuable and moderate money related items and services that address their requirements which are conveyed in a mindful and credible way. Financial inclusion is characterized by the accessibility and fairness of chances to get money-related services. The accessibility of monetary administrations that meet the particular needs of a user without any discrimination is a key goal of Financial Inclusion. Continue reading “Financial Inclusion: All you need to know”

How can Fleet Managers benefit from using Fleet Expense Management Tools?

Be it any business, transportation/logistics play a prominent role in it. From having a fleet of thousand vehicles to a few, from owning the fleet to outsourcing it to another, there are various problems faced by all the fleet businesses but most of them are associated with the expense management.

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Things to know before you get a Credit Card

If you are looking to get your first credit card and you have absolutely no idea then you have come to the right place. Getting your first credit card is always an exciting experience but even more confusing. A credit card is similar to a debit card where instead of having the funds deducted directly from your checking account when you make a purchase, you’ll take on a short-term loan. This loan may or may not accrue interest, depending on when you pay it off.

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