Panel to scrutinise draft law on street vendors

The State Cabinet on Tuesday decided to refer to a sub-committee a draft law to protect legitimate street vendors from harassment by police and civil authorities.

The Karnataka Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, based on a draft circulated by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA), will now be scrutinised by the sub-committee.

Some members in the Cabinet pointed out the bill in its present form was not viable as it could help the mafia, which controls street vending is some places, especially in Bangalore.

Right to livelihood
The proposed bill is built on the premise that practising any profession is every citizen’s right and it cannot be denied to the street vendors.

The proposed bill makes it mandatory for civic bodies to create “ town vending committees” comprising at least 40 per cent street vendors, which will take the responsibility for identifying the vending zones. These committees will distribute identity cards to street vendors and also ensure credit availability from banks.

A Supreme Court 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.

Based on the ruling, the Ministry of HUPA had brought out the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors in 2009. This policy envisages that state governments must address the requirements of space for street vending.

Amendment approved
The cabinet also gave its nod to amend the Karnataka Civil Services (Conduct) Rules 1966 to allow Group A, B and C officers to accept gifts whose worth is equal to their monthly basic salary during weddings, anniversaries or religious functions in conformity with the prevailing religious or social practice. Hitherto, the rule restricted officers from accepting gifts worth more than Rs 5,000.

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