Smiles and cheers prevailed among the street vendors’ representatives at the “Convention on Street Vendors Dialogue with Political Leaders”, as the news about Union Cabinet clearing the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, spread on Wednesday.

Though Union Housing and Poverty Alleviation Minister Ajay Maken, who was to address the convention, could not turn up because of his presence in the Cabinet meeting, his office sent a message informing about the approval of the Bill by the Union Cabinet.

“Protecting and promoting livelihood of street vendors is of paramount importance for the inclusive growth of cities and towns, and the government is committed to table the Bill in the current session of Parliament itself,” read the message.

Hailing the Union Cabinet approval to the revamped Bill, NASVI national coordinator Arbind Singh said: “We really struggled a lot. We are happy that the deck is cleared now. We trust the Bill will get passed in this session itself.” 

Describing an inclusive and effective law as a critical social-political imperative of urbanising India, the NASVI leader said: “Once enacted by the Parliament, the Act would go a long way in protecting the rights and entitlements of street vendors who earn their livelihood in tough and harsh conditions in cities and towns across India”.

He urged all political parties and their Members of Parliament to give a thumping support to the Bill in both Houses of the Parliament.

During the convention, the street vendor leaders from several States raised their concerns over the delay in passing of the Bill. “We want to build a momentum on getting effective central law in the current session of Parliament.”

The Bill incorporates the issue of inclusion of vendors doing their business on railway lands. The earlier version of the Bill had excluded the railway vendors. The revised Bill also empowers the Town Vending Committee (TVC), which will also have a substantial number of representations from street vendors, with the authority to determine the vending zones. The Bill also has a strong grievance redressal mechanism.

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