The Potential and Challenges for Online Freelancing and Microwork in India India Habitat Center 27 December 2017
What Current and Potential Workers say Presented at the dissemination event India Habitat Center 27 December 2017 LIRNEasia (Helani Galpaya, Laleema Senanayake), together with the team from Vihara Innovation Network (Aditya Dev Sood, Rumani Chakraborti, Mohit Tamta, Tanmay Awasti et al)
CEO Helani Galpaya was invited to speak at the Intersessional Panel of the UNCSTD. Her presentation was based on three themes at LIRNEasia.
Galpaya, H.G, Senanayake, D. L, Suthaharan, P. Exploring the challenges faced by Sri Lankan workers in web-based digital labour platforms, CPRsouth 2017, August, 2017.
Social media, especially Twitter, is not optimal for nuanced discussion of policy options. In the context of a talk I gave at the 2017 Sri Lanka Economic Summit on innovation, broadly defined, someone suggested co-working spaces as the priority. My response was: Tech and innovation cannot be reduced to ICT innovation — Rohan Samarajiva (@samarajiva) July 26, 2017 For reasons unclear to me this is being interpreted as an outright rejection of co-working spaces 2/ when I raised this once on Twitter Dr. @samarajiva outright rejected saying, Tech co-working spaces is not a priority! — Sesiri Pathirane (@Sesiri) August 26, 2017 So I thought it would be good to look at what I had actually said at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit.
At LIRNEasia, we are looking at how online freelancing platforms can make life easier and better at the bottom of the pyramid. In Bengaluru, a few cases stand out. First, some urban freelancers have found means of circumventing platform fees. Second, women in semi-urban areas don’t seem to trust the internet enough to consider working online.
We’ve been very happy we succeeded in disseminating the results of the online freelancing research in both Sinhala and Tamil. Here is an interview that was broadcast on a cable/satellite only news channel on multiple occasions, now on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZzurcU5IjA&index=98&list=PLkkCdeu97j3DUgSfk8SsOiqN6yPHwbq-K
Simbi – an emerging crowd working platform has termed “Symbiotic Economy”, as an exchange of skills and services without spending cash.
“This system is biased towards the buyer. If I didn’t deliver a good product, the buyer can cancel. If the buyer cancels, I should approve the cancellation. If we provide a good product and if he cancels it, we can contact Fiverr directly. If you are a level I seller (entry level), they don’t get back to you quickly.
Estimating the number of online freelancers is a tough task. Freelancer platforms such as Fiverr, Freelancer and Upwork do not share this number by country. Particularly for a small country like Sri Lanka tracing the number of freelancers is very difficult. We wanted to study the extent to which online freelancing /microwork can lead to inclusive growth benefitting underemployed youth, women and previously-excluded persons. To understand the impact that freelancing / microworking could have on local youth, we wanted to quantify the incidence of freelancing by estimating the number of freelancers/microworkers in Sri Lanka.
“Online freelancers are not given loans from local banks. The first question the officers ask us is whether EPF/ ETF is deducted from our salary. This is how they understand whether we have a stable job or not. They refuse to issue us loans because we don’t have a stable job. This is not the case in other countries” Says Sampath, a 25 year old freelancer in Sri Lanka.
Making the public aware about load shedding schedules is important as more and more younger people now work online and as power is a must to deliver work on time.
There is huge potential for Jaffna as a second tier IT city. If ideal investment climate is created and few large-scale firms are brought, city can be easily positioned as a hub for IT – BPO operation and providing employment opportunity for many which is currently a big issue in North. There are lots of positive factors lined up Youth in Jaffna are very tech savvy and highly enthusiastic ICT arena. Budget 2017 announces 200% Capital allowance for business starting in North Capacity of diaspora population and their willingness to invest Few volunteer organizations active in region creating awareness and interest to IT entrepreneurship among Northern youth. ECTA, PM’s plan of creating 500 B regional economies by connecting south Indian states could benefit city like Jaffna.
An emerging new employment opportunity Launch of World Development Report 2016 and related LIRNEasia Research Hilton Residencies 06 December 2016 Helani Galpaya, Suthaharan Perampalam & Laleema Senanayake