Delhi Motor Aggregator and Delivery Service Provider Scheme could adversely impact gig workers: IAMAI

PTI – The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) on Wednesday said the implementation of the Delhi Motor Vehicle Aggregator and Delivery Service Provider Scheme by the city government could adversely impact the livelihoods of countless gig workers across the national capital. The scheme was approved by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal last month.

Mandatory panic buttons in taxis, integration with emergency response number ‘112’, and phase-wise transition to electric vehicles (EV) are some of the highlights of the scheme to regulate cab aggregators and delivery service providers in the national capital.

The IAMAI, a not-for-profit industry body representing the digital services industry with over 500 Indian and multinational corporations as its members, said it supports the development of the country’s electric vehicle (EV) industry and recognises the importance of pragmatic policies that systematically target environmental issues.

“However, it is crucial to acknowledge the present realities of the EV ecosystem. The EV conversion targets prescribed in the scheme appear to be based on assumptions of ecosystem maturity rather than evidence- based research,” it said in a statement.

“It is imperative the government recognise that the paucity of charging stations and battery-swapping infrastructure in the capital make the scheme’s ambitious targets virtually impossible to meet,” it added.

The statement noted that “aggressive EV transition mandates” for aggregators and delivery service providers could lead to significant disruptions to business activity and livelihoods of gig workers in the capital.

“In particular, the EV conversion targets prescribed pose a significant risk to gig workers who have heavily invested their capital, often through loans, in internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicles. Moreover, the extremely high costs associated with owning an EV make it a commercially unfeasible option for most gig workers in the capital,” it said.

The statement also opined that the target of 100% electrification of bike taxis operating in Delhi right from the outset also raises serious concerns as the lack of a moratorium for bike taxis could render numerous gig workers without work overnight.

The IAMAI also recommended an escalation mechanism prior to the imposition of penalties as it would ensure a fair and transparent process for all stakeholders involved.