Delhi Government’s Aggressive EV Conversion Timelines May Adversely Affect Gig Workers’ Livelihood: IAMAI

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) expressed concern over the recently released Delhi Motor Vehicle Aggregator and Delivery Service Provider Scheme 2023. The scheme, if implemented as envisioned, could adversely impact the livelihoods of countless gig workers across Delhi.

IAMAI 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 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.

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. 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.

On the scheme’s provisions pertaining to consumer grievances, IAMAI urged the government to adopt a graded approach to addressing consumer complaints based on their urgency and nature. Regarding the scheme’s data storage requirements, IAMAI requested the Delhi government refrain from imposing such obligations as the storage and sharing of personal data is set to be more comprehensively addressed by the central government through the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022. Lastly, IAMAI recommended an escalation mechanism prior to the imposition of penalties as it would ensure a fair and transparent process for all stakeholders involved.