Press for passage of Street Vendors Bill in this monsoon session of Parliament

Street vendors from across States have started sending postcards to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi demanding introduction and passage of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill in the monsoon session of Parliament.

The postcards are being sent as part of a campaign initiated by the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), an advocacy platform of street vendor organisations in the country. The campaign will run till August 15.

Speaking about the move, NASVI national coordinator Arbind Singh said on Thursday: “The Union Cabinet has already approved the revamped Bill. There should not be any further delay in introducing and passing it. Inclusive Central legislation is the critical need of the time as it would check the growing victimisation of street vendors across cities and towns by municipal authorities and police forces.”

Since the time of framing National Policy for Urban Street Vendors in January, 2004, he said more than a million street vendors have been displaced in the name of some or the other development project or in the name of city beautification drives.

“The root of the proposed legislation lies in the street vendors’ agitation, the 2010 Supreme Court verdict and the diligence of the National Advisory Committee (NAC) which felt and recognised the merits of NASVI advocacy for Central law in favour of street vendors”, another NASVI functionary Ranjit Abhigyan said.

Initially, the Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha by the then Union Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja on September 6 last but as it had several shortcomings it was sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development. On March 13, this year the panel tabled its report on the floor of the House. On May 1, the Union Cabinet approved the revamped Street Vendors Bill.

Stating that the reworked Bill, which includes vendors doing their business on railway lands, greatly empowers the Town Vending Committee (TVC) and gives them the power to decide ultimately on almost all issues of determining the vending zones, Mr. Abhigyan said the Bill also has strong grievance redress mechanisms.

Thus to press for passage of the Bill in the monsoon session, the street vendors across States are sending thousands of postcards to the Congress president Sonia Gandhi, he added.

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