Chapter 8: Informal workers harnessing the power of digital platforms in India
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The emergence of digital platforms and the gig economy has generated significant questions on the impact of new technologies on labour, especially on informal workers in the global South, and the potential need for a new social contract to keep pace with the shifting economic landscape. This chapter aims to investigate the juncture between informality and digital platforms by studying the case of domestic workers in India. It draws on existing studies and background research to analyze the impact of digitization on the sector, focusing on problems of access, the changing nature of livelihoods, new power dynamics, and the intersection of gender and other socio-cultural indicators. Subsequently, the chapter draws on global examples and the experiences of the SEWA Homecare cooperative of domestic workers in Ahmedabad (India) to explore alternative, 'democratic' and 'worker-oriented' models of digital platforms. The chapter examines key features and advantages of such alternatives; their potential as well as the main challenges that they must confront.