A May Day gift for street vendors

A demonstration by street vendors in Delhi. File Photo

A demonstration by street vendors in Delhi. File Photo  

On Labour Day, the Union Cabinet announced a bonanza for street vendors - an end to ‘licence raj’ - by giving its consent to the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2013.

The Bill which is aimed at regulating street vending and shielding the vendors from harassment by the law enforcement agencies and local bodies will put an end to the practice of giving out licences for vending, instead certificates will be issued to bona fide vendors.

According to officials of the Union Ministry for Housing and Poverty Alleviation (HUPA), the Bill will see certificates being issued to at least 1 crore vendors across the country. It will also regulate the entire process, starting with surveys, identifying the vendors to laying down the rules that will have to be followed for grant or confiscation of vending certificates.

As per the Bill, town vending committees will have to conduct a survey every five years to identify the vendors. These committees will have 40 per cent representation from elected representatives of vendor organisations, 10 per cent representatives from among hawkers, while the rest would be town planners, administrators, police and elected peoples representatives.

The town vending committees have been mandated to ensure that all existing street vendors with certificates are accommodated in the identified vending zones subject to a norm conforming to 2.5 per cent of the population of the ward or the zone in a town or city.

Delhi for instance can have vending certificates issued to up to 2.5 per cent of the entire population. The vending certificates can be transferred to the spouse or a dependant kin in case of death.

The Bill also lays out in detail the reasons for denying vending certificates and selecting vending zones and prohibits operations from non-vending zones.

While it will protect the vendors from excesses by the police or the local municipal bodies, it also lays down conditions for vendors to follow. All vendors will be bound to maintain cleanliness and public hygiene, civic amenities and public property in the vending zone; they will also have to pay periodic maintenance charges for the amenities and facilities.

For dispute redressal, concerned governments will have to constitute one or more committees comprising a chairperson, who can be a retired judge or judicial magistrate, and two other professionals for the purpose.

Preparation plans for street vending will have to be prepared every five years by the local authority in consultation with the planning authority and on the recommendation of the town vending committee.

The Bill also lays out penal provisions of up to Rs. 2,000 for each offence of violating the terms of vending certificates.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 5:28:55 PM |

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