Manmohan hawks for street food vendors
It is not quite Manmohanomics, but Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has taken steps that could well alleviate the lot of street vendors.
Taking up cudgels in favour of street vendors and hawkers, Singh has asked all state governments to be compassionate and “kind hearted” about people selling a variety of fare on pushcarts and at kiosks.
While the prime minister’s directives could be described as “inclusive growth,” Singh’s missive to chief ministers is clear: Allow street vendors to earn their livelihood without having to face harassment by the city/town authorities.
In his letter to the state governments, Singh has suggested that the administration reserve exclusive space in all cities for street vendors. In other words, the prime minister prefers the state governments to recognise and legitimise street vending.
Recalling the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors 2009, which aims at ensuring that the stall owners/workers are given due recognition at the national, state and local levels, the prime minister said the state governments should ensure that the hawkers are allowed to do business.
The policy underscored the need for a legislative framework to enable them to earn an honest living from any quarter, he said. A model Bill has been drafted to protect the livelihood of street vendors and regulate street vending.
He asked the chief ministers to take steps to “restructure master planning laws and city/local area plans to make them ‘inclusive’ and address the requirements of space for street vending as an important urban activity.”
The prime minister urged the states to devise norms for “suitable spatial planning for reservation of space for street vendors in accordance with their current population and projected growth.” Singh also said the states should ensure proper demarcation of “restriction-free vending zones, restricted vending zones, no-vending zones and mobile vending areas in every city and town, taking into account the natural propensity of street vendors to locate in certain places at certain times.”
Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, the Urban Development Ministry has asked state governments to grade the vendors according to the quality of food they prepared and served. It, however, wants the state government to ensure that the food served by street vendors be hygienic.