Will move street vendors’ bill: Ajay Maken

New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) Street vendors associations from across the country Wednesday hailed the government for assurance that it will during the current budget session move the bill to protect the livelihood, dignity and human rights of millions of vendors.

“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,” Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Ajay Maken told the street vendor’s association.

The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill will allow anyone over 18 years of age to register with the town vending committee for carrying out business.

Hailing the cabinet approval for the revamped bill, Arbind Singh, national coordinator, National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), said: “We struggled a lot. We trust the bill will get passed in this session. Minister Ajay Maken has sent a message assuring that the bill will be passed.”

“Once enacted by 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,” Singh said.

As per the provisions of the bill, at least 2.5 per cent of a city’s population would be eligible for vending licences and it would be mandatory to form Town and Zonal Vending Committee in every city.

“The town vending committees would have 40 percent representation of elected representatives of vendor organisations, 10 percent of NGOs and rest of town planners, administrators, police and elected peoples representatives,” an NASVI statement said.

The NASVI, an association with over 4.5 lakh members in 23 states, urged political parties to support it and pass the bill.

“The bill also provides for setting up of vending zones for hawkers with minimal restrictions and without fear of being fined by municipal authorities, as the bill has a strong grievance redressal mechanisms,” Singh added.

According to Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, there are 10 million street vendors in the country.

Mumbai alone accounts for 250,000 street vendors, while Delhi has 200,000. There are over 150,000 street vendors in Kolkata and over 100,000 in Ahmedabad.

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