Will do away with present ‘unfriendly’ licensing system

The Union Government on Friday approved the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012, which seeks to protect the rights of vendors and regulate their activity in public areas. The Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation is expected to introduce the Bill in the ongoing session of Parliament.

As per the Bill, anyone over 18 years can apply and register as a street vendor with the respective Town Vending Committee (TVC) on payment of a one-time fee. Once registered, they will be given identity cards entitling them to sell their wares in specified vending zones. It would also do away with the existing licence system that has become a tool to victimise and harass street vendors in almost all municipal areas of the country.

The Bill contains provisions to protect and promote natural markets, weekly markets and night bazaars where vendors and hawkers can sell their wares. The proposed legislation also has clear provisions for grievance redress and transparency. The prescribed provisions and mechanisms protect vendors from confiscation of their goods and forced eviction by authorities.

An arrangement of appellate system has also been put in the proposed law wherein local authorities have been empowered to set up a permanent committee consisting of a person who has been a sub-judge or a judicial magistrate to redress vendors’ grievances.

The National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) which is a body of street vendors and has long been struggling for a Central law on the issue has hailed the decision of the Government and has urged all political parties to support the Bill once it is tabled in Parliament.

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