| Mumbai has three lakh hawkers
Hawkers Inc to get their rights - No harassment; Loans, registration
and social facilities will now be given
New Delhi: Medical benefits, insurance cover and loans - your bhajiwali
is no more going to be the same old insecure woman anymore. Hawkers
and street vendors are soon going to get social security and health
cover just on the lines of workers in the organised sector.
In a meeting following a national workshop on urban street vendors,
held in New Delhi on Wednesday, the union Urban Employment and Poverty
Alleviation (UEPA) ministry has decided to issue directives to the
state governments in this regard.
India has about one crore hawkers and street vendors out of which
almost three lakh are in Mumbai and 2.75 lakh in West Bengal.
The state governments and land developing agencies will now also have
to mandatorarily earmark land space in their Master Plan or Zonal
Plans for street vendors and hawkers. "So far there is no provision
for social inclusion of street vendors and hawkers at the town planning
level. At present, there are no legal bindings on the states in this
regard. But we are issuing instructions making it mandatory to keep
space for these people," said a senior official of the UEPA.
The central government will also ask states to sensitise its police
and municipal authorities towards hawkers and vendors. In a move to
streamline the system, hawkers and vendors will be registered and
the state governments will also have to help them in getting loans
since hawkers often live in slums and have no proper address or identity
which is essential for loans. As a result they generally borrow money
from private lenders at very high rates of interest. While the interest
of street vendors will also be covered under the National Urban Renewal
Mission, which will take care of basic services etc to them, states
will also need to pass a Hawkers Act which would prevent harassment
of the hawkers by the police and municipal authorities.
The central government is also going to get tough with states not
implementing the policy. The policy was framed to regulate the business
of the street vendors and hawkers in the country but despite a year
after its announcement nothing has happened in this regard.
Publication : DNA; Date : Oct 20, 2005; Page : 11