On January 16, food delivery platform Swiggy announced the rollout of an ambulance service to help its active delivery executives and their dependents in case of emergencies.
The delivery executives can access the service by reaching out on a toll-free number or by tapping the SOS button on the partner app. The service is free for all active delivery executives and their dependents and the response time on an average is 12 minutes.
According to a study by the government think tank NITI Aayog, in 2020-21, 77 lakh workers were engaged in India’s gig economy, with the workforce expected to expand to 2.35 crore workers by 2029-30.
These workers, including delivery boys, cleaners, consultants, and bloggers, face several challenges related to social security, gratuity, minimum wage protection, and working hours as they are engaged in livelihoods outside the traditional employer-employee arrangement.
The NITI Aayog study suggests that platforms such as ride-hailing, delivery, and e-commerce companies may adopt a model similar to Indonesia’s, where workers are offered accident and other insurance through digital mechanisms.
These services may be offered in collaboration with the private sector or government, as envisaged under the Code on Social Security, 2020. With Swiggy’s ambulance service, the company is taking steps to address the challenges faced by gig economy workers and provide them with access to important services in case of emergencies.