Flourish Ventures, a global fintech venture capital fund with investments across South Asia, has published the fourth country report in its fivepart series tracking the economic struggles of gig workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey reveals that nearly 90% of Indian gig workers have lost income during the pandemic. These workers often enjoyed above-average earnings before the pandemic, but more than a third surveyed were making less than Rs 5,000 (approximately US$68) per month by August.
The survey of 770 ridesharing drivers, delivery workers, and housecleaners using digital platforms was conducted in August 2020, as COVID-19 cases were surging across in India.
Key Findings of the survey:
• Incomes have collapsed since the lockdowns.
While most Indian gig workers earned over Rs 25,000 per month (approximately US$ 340) before the pandemic, by August nearly nine in 10 were making less than Rs 15,000 per month (US$ 200). More than a third of gig workers were making about US$ 2.3 per day or less.
• Indian gig workers have been resilient
If they lost their main source of income, Flourish found that 47% of gig workers could not cover their expenses for a month without borrowing money - although the fact that 52% could manage for more than a month indicates greater financial resilience than we found in other markets.
• Many are taking painful action
44% have already borrowed, 45% have cut consumption, 83% have used their savings, and 57% have acted on the loan moratorium to reduce or halt payments on their debts.
• Government aid has alleviated some hardship
Of those surveyed, 42% received food or financial aid from government COVID-19 relief. Those who have were over four times less likely to say they have lost hope.
• Despite real fears about the health risk, 61% of respondents were more concerned about their ability to work. Concern for their livelihoods outweighed gig workers' worries about even their access to basic needs (17%) or their family's health (12%).