Street vendors bill passed by Rajya Sabha

Legislation meant to ensure protection of livelihood and social security of street vendors

By Jitendra
Published: Wednesday 19 February 2014

imageThe Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill. Once enacted it will provide relief to hundreds of thousands of street vendors across the country who have been facing regular harassment at the hands of police and municipalities.

The bill ensures protection of livelihood rights and social security of street vendors and provides for regulation of urban street vending in the country. Lok Sabha had passed the bill on September 6, last year.

Terming street vendors as an integral part of urban economy, Girija Vyas, Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, said in Parliament that street vending provides self-employment to the poor and affordable and convenient services to majority of population, especially common people.

Vyas informed Parliament that the ministry has accepted most of the recommendations made by the standing committee.

The Parliament standing committee that deliberated on the bill made 26 recommendations. The ministry has accepted 17 recommendations fully, three recommendations in part or with modifications, and has rejected six recommendations.

Long consultations preceded passage

The bill was finalised after lengthy consultations across the country.

At the time of revising the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors in 2009, the government underscored the need for a legislative framework to enable street vendors to pursue an honest living without harassment. A model bill was prepared in 2009 which was approved by the Union Cabinet and then circulated to the states for suggestions.

In 2011, three consultation programmes were organised in Patna, Mumbai and Delhi, which were attended by representatives from state governments, urban local bodies, NGOs, civil society, international organisations, experts and street vendors associations.

After consultations, a new bill was drafted and discussed during a national consultations attended by 22 states in April 2012.

Main features of the bill:

  • It provides for constitution of a Town Vending Authority in each local authority for its implementation.
  • It ensures participatory decision making for vending activities like determination of natural market, identification of vending zones, preparation of street vending plan and survey of street vendors.
  • It restricts arbitrariness of authorities. The bill provides for survey of existing vendors in every five years. It also provides for issuing of certificates of vending to all the street vendors identified in the survey, with preference to SC, ST, OBC, women, persons with disabilities and minorities.
  • It says no street vendor will be evicted until the survey has been completed and certificate of vending issued to the street vendors.
  • It provides social security: in case of accident, permanent disability, illness or death of a licence holder, the licence can be given to any one family member.
  • The bill lays down a set of principles to be followed before relocation. But it specifies that relocation of street vendors should be the last resort.
  • Section 29 of the bill provides for protection of street vendors from harassment by police and other authorities and provides for an overriding clause to ensure they carry on their business without the fear of harassment by the authorities under any other law.

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