Bill soon to legitimise street vendors

Law to protect them from harassment by cops

Currently being drafted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, the legislation, dubbed Model Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, intends to protect legitimate street vendors from harassment by police and civil authorities.

The Centre had to shelve a similar model bill drafted in 2009 as it received a lukewarm response from the states.

“After representations from several organisations, the ministry has decided to modify the previous model bill and send it to the states for comments,” Minister for Urban Housing and Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja said.

The central legislation, once drafted,  will act as a uniform and mandatory regulation for all the states, the minister said.

Ministry officials estimate the number of street vendors in Indian urban centres to be nearly one crore, with women constituting 40 per cent of them. Mumbai has three lakh street vendors, while the population of hawkers in Delhi is 2.5 lakh. Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Bangalore each has 1.5 lakh vendors.

Some studies indicate that street vendors constitute 2 per cent of the population in metro cities.

According to the model bill, each civic body should create a town vending committee made of at least 40 per cent street vendors, which will take responsibility for identifying the vending zone and legitimate vendors.

It will also distribute identity cards and ensure credit availability from banks.
The Supreme Court in a ruling said the right to carry on trade or business mentioned in Article 19 (1) g of the Constitution, on street pavements, if properly regulated, cannot be denied on the ground that the streets are meant exclusively for passing or re-passing and no other use.

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