Contents

  1. In political micro-targeting, the vulnerable Indian voter
  2. Fresh ways to govern India’s gig workforce

IN POLITICAL MICRO-TARGETING, THE VULNERABLE INDIAN VOTER

  • In the Internet age, any data protection law must be alive to the potential impact of social media companies in shaping public opinion.
  • The current data protection bill 2019 empowers the Central government to notify social media intermediaries as significant data fiduciaries if their user base crosses a certain threshold and whose actions are likely to have an impact on electoral democracy.
  • Over the years, political advisory and advertising firms have devised sophisticated tools to gather voter data and made proper campaign products out of it.
  • The politicians of today’s age leave no stone unturned while canvassing for votes

Unregulated zone

  • The informational autonomy of the voter is under serious threat because the entire business of collecting personal data continues to remain unregulated and is also proprietary in nature.

FRESH WAYS TO GOVERN INDIA’S GIG WORKFORCE

  • Indians constitute a quarter of the world’s gig workers, earning $1 billion last year and registering double-digit growth.
  • The gig economy plays to employment patterns in India, where most of the workforce is engaged in “informal” jobs in the “unorganized” sector.
  • Non-contractual employment grew by 68 million over last 13 years, and “has been a hero of employment generation growing by about 5% annually”.
  • Professionals constituted the most rapidly growing occupations, with older, better educated and skilled witnessing higher growth.
  • As technology and business models take the gig economy across the country and implant it more deeply into the Indian economy, we can expect to see a lot more people find employment through online marketplaces and technology platforms.
  • In December, the government introduced legislation in Parliament that seeks to consolidate a number of labour laws into a Social Security Code.
  • Recent reports suggest that revenue officials are leaning on platforms and aggregators to get gig workers registered with the goods and services tax (GST) network
  • The government is attempting to rationalize labour regulations and expand the country’s tax base
  • Jobs vary along two fundamental characteristics: the level of income they generate and the volatility of this income.
  • For instance, a graphic designer could earn tens of lakhs of rupees a year, but go without income for several months at a stretch
  • Instead of the old binary formulation of informal versus formal jobs, it is more informative to see jobs being distributed on a spectrum depending on how much they pay and how volatile the income flows they provide are.
  • Wherever a job lies in this spectrum, the objective of public policy ought to be to ensure a “trimurti”: dignified working conditions, growing wage levels, and minimal income fluctuations
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