Policy For Urban Street Vendors
vending as a profession has been in existence in India since time
immemorial. However, their number has increased manifold in the
recent years. According to one study Mumbai has the largest number
of street vendors numbering around 250,000, while Delhi has around
200,000. Calcutta has more than 150,000 street vendors and Ahmedabad
has around 100,000. Women
constitute a large number of street vendors in almost every city.
Some studies estimate that street vendors constitute
approximately 2% of the population of a metropolis. The total number
of street vendors in the country is estimated at around 1 crore.
Urban vending is not only a source of employment but provide
‘affordable’ services to the majority of urban
population. The role
played by the hawkers in the economy as also in the society needs to
be given due credit but they are considered as unlawful entities and
are subjected to continuous harassment by Police and civic
is reported to be continuing even after the ruling of the Supreme
Court that “if properly regulated according to the exigency of the
circumstances, the small traders on the side walks can considerably
add to the comfort and convenience of the general public, by making
available ordinary articles of everyday use for a comparatively
lesser price. An ordinary person, not very affluent, while hurrying
towards his home after a day’s work can pick up these articles
without going out of his way to find a regular market. The right to
carry on trade or business mentioned in Article 19(1)g of the
Constitution, on street pavements, if properly regulated cannot be
denied on the ground that the streets are meant exclusively for
passing or re-passing and no other use.”
Articles 39 (a) and (b)
of the Constitution clearly mention that the State shall in
particular direct its policy so that -
the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an
adequate means of livelihood.
and control of the material resources of the
community are so
distributed as best to sub serve the common good.
vendors provide valuable services to the urban population while
trying to earn a livelihood and it is the duty of the State to
protect the right of this segment of population to earn their
livelihood. This policy
aims to ensure that this important section of the urban population
finds recognition for its contribution to society, and is
conceived of as a major initiative for urban poverty alleviation.
street vendor is broadly defined as a person who offers goods or
services for sale to the public without having a permanent built up
structure but with a temporary static structure or mobile stall (or
headload). Street vendors may be stationary by occupying space on
the pavements or other public/private areas, or may be mobile in the
sense that they move from place to place carrying their wares on
push carts or in cycles or baskets on their heads, or may sell their
wares in moving bus etc.
In this policy document, the term urban vendor is inclusive of both
traders and service providers, stationary as well as mobile vendors
and incorporates all other local/region specific terms used to
describe them, such as, hawker, pheriwalla, rehri-patri walla,
footpath dukandars, sidewalk traders,
overarching objective to be achieved through this policy is to:
and promote a supportive environment for earning livelihoods to the
Street vendors, as well as ensure absence of congestion and
maintenance of hygiene in public spaces and streets.
basic objectives of the policy are:
Legal: To give
vendors legal status by amending, enacting, repealing and
implementing appropriate laws and providing legitimate hawking zones
in urban development/ zoning plans.
Facilities: To provide
facilities for appropriate use of identified space including the
creation of hawking zones in the urban development/ zoning plans
eschew imposing numerical limits on access to public spaces by
discretionary licenses and instead moving to nominal fee-based
regulation of access, where market forces like price, quality and
demand will determine the number of vendors that can be sustained.
Such a demand cannot be unlimited.
Role in distribution:
To make Street vendors a special component of the urban
development /zoning plans by treating them as an integral and
legitimate part of the urban distribution system.
To promote self-compliance amongst Street vendors.
promote, if necessary, organizations of Street vendors e.g. Unions /
Co-operatives/ Associations and other forms of organization to
facilitate their empowerment.
set up participatory mechanisms with representation by urban
vendors’ organizations, (Unions / Co-operatives/ Associations),
Voluntary organizations, local authorities, the police, Residents
Welfare Association (RWAs) and others for orderly conduct of urban
Child Vendors: To take measures for promoting a better future
for child vendors by making appropriate interventions for their
rehabilitation and schooling.
Social Security &
Financial Services: To facilitate/ promote social security
(pension, insurance, etc.,) and access to credit for Street vendors
through promotion of SHGs/co-operatives/Federations/Micro Finance
Institutions (MFIs) etc.
Elements of the Policy
the Supreme Court orders, some cities drafted guidelines for
regulating urban vending activities.
However, the provisions made so far do not generally
recognize the fact that demand for their wares/ services is highly
specific and varies as to location and time, manifesting as a natural
propensity of Street vendors to locate in various places at
particular times. On
the contrary, the present urban planning norms completely disregard
the formation of such natural markets.
They also do not have implementation systems in place.
Planning norms should be supportive of such natural markets.
Spatial Planning norms - demarcation of vending zones
demarcation of hawking zones should be city/town specific.
To make the plans conducive and adequate for the hawkers of
the respective city / town, the following should be adhered to:
It should take into account the natural propensity of the
Street vendors to locate in certain places at certain times in
response to patterns of demand for their goods/services.
City authorities should provide sufficient spaces, designated
as ‘vendors markets’ in layout plans at locations of such
natural markets, for the number of vendors (static and mobile) which
can cater to demand for their wares / services. If aspirants to such
location exceed the number of spaces available, excess may be
regulated by fees or lottery and not discretionary licenses. In any
case market forces relating to price, quality and demand will
automatically curtail the number of vendors to sustainable levels.
Mobile urban vending should be permitted in all areas even
outside the designated vendors’ markets, unless designated as
‘no-vending zone’ through a participatory process. The
‘no-vending zones’ may be notified both in terms of location and
Locations should not be designated as ‘no-vending’ zones
for frivolous reasons; the public benefits of declaration of a
no-vending zone should clearly outweigh the potential loss of
livelihood and non-availability of goods and services that it would
With the growth of city/town every new area should have
adequate provisions for Street vendors.
Designation of vendors markets / no-vending zones should not
be left to the sole discretion of any civic or police authority but
must be accomplished by a participatory process by a Town
Vending Committee ( which for large towns / cities may be
constituted on the basis of wards ) whose membership may be as
Traffic and Local Police
Public Land Owning Authority
Associations (Market, Traders, Resident Welfare, slum &
Representative from associations
of Street vendors ( static & mobile)
lead Nationalized Bank / Commercial Bank.
hawker’s representatives should preferably constitute atleast 25%
to 40% of the total number of members of the Committee.
Atleast 1/3rd of the representatives of street vendors should
Process for selection of street vendors’ repre- sentatives
should be based on the following criteria:
Committee should ensure that provisions
for space for vendors’ markets are pragmatic, consistent with
formation of natural markets, sufficient for existing demand for
vendor’s goods and services, as well as likely increase in line
with anticipated population growth.
Provisions of space may include temporary designation as
vendors’ markets (e.g. as weekly markets) whose use at other times
may be different (e.g. Public Park, parking lot).
Timing restriction on urban vending should correspond to the
needs of ensuring non-congestion of public spaces / public hygiene.
Committee should ensure continuation and up-gradation of weekly
functions of the committee are described below:
Quantitative Norms refer
to the norms on amount of space to be provided for vendors’
markets. At the town /
city level enough space should be designated for vendors’ markets
at least to the extent of 2% to 2.5% of the total city population.
Each town / city may evolve its own quantitative norms, but
after proper surveys (See
Annexure –I for
indicative norms provided in Delhi Master Plan)
Qualitative guidelines refer
to facilities to be provide at vendors’ markets by the civic
authorities. They would
Provide provisions for solid waste disposal
Public toilets to maintain cleanliness.
Aesthetic design of mobile stalls/ push carts
Provision for electricity
Provision for drinking water
Provision for protective covers to protect their wares as
well as themselves from heat, rain, dust etc.
Storage facilities including cold storage
issuing licenses to vendors was seen as an instrument to give some
of them ‘legal’ status, in
an environment where urban vending is ipso
facto illegal, which would in turn remove the very basis of
their harassment, extortion and eviction by the concerned
numerical limits to such licenses, which are sought to be justified
on the argument that congestion in public places would thus be
avoided, has given rise to an elaborate regime of rent seeking.
In the first instance, rent are derived from the issue of
licenses, since the demand exceeds the (often arbitrary) numerical
limits of such licenses. Second,
given the demand for services of Street vendors exceeds the supply
from licensed vendors, a number of unlicensed vendors seek to
operate, and rents are extracted during enforcement by allowing them
to operate without licenses. Given
these inadequacies of the licensing system and the associated rent
seeking, doing away with licensing system
is the appropriate course. However,
the alternative should not only prevent rent seeking but also enable
the livelihood – congestion trade-off to be resolved.
The demand for vending in a particular area can be matched with
the supply without over-congestion if zoning plans provide adequate
vending spaces both with respect to location and time. A
system of registration of hawkers and non-discretionary regulation
of access to public spaces in accordance with the planning standards
and nature of trade/ service should be adopted.
This is described in greater detail below.
The power to register would be vested with Town
vending committee / Ward
All vendors in each city should be registered at a nominal
fee to be decided by the ULBs based on any reliable means of
should preferably be no numerical restriction or quotas, or prior
residential status requirements of any kind.
Registration should be renewed after every three years.
The registration process must be simple.
The vendors will be issued Identity
Cards which would contain:
Photographs of the husband and wife
Name of any one nominee from the family
Names of other members in the family (may be used for health
or other social security programme)
Nature of business
Children below 14 years would not be allowed in the card for
conduct of business.
The Town vending Committee / Ward vending Committee
be composed of representatives of hawkers, planners, police, local
councillors, resident welfare associations, traders associations and
municipal functionaries and would be empowered to:
the terms and conditions (planning) for hawking.
corrective action against defiant hawkers.
Collection of Revenue –
vendors would be charged a monthly fee for access to various
services. There should
be direct linkage between the urban local bodies (ULBs) and hawkers
for collection of:
Monthly maintenance charges – differentiated according to
location/type of business
Fines, if any, etc
The Town Vending Committee / Ward Vending Committee should be
made available a proportion of revenue generated from registration
fees and monthly fees from their ward to run their operations
subject to a minimum grant from the local authority.
Town vending Committee / Ward Committee would be entrusted with
adequate powers and resources to:
Monitor the hawking activity of a particular ward and the
quality of the services provided
Take corrective action, if required
Report to City level Committee, if required
Recommend revaluation / changes in specified norms for
State level nodal officer to monitor and report to the
Central Ministry on the functioning of the Street vendors of the
Relocation and Rehabilitation
vendors are most vulnerable to forced eviction and denial of basic
right to livelihood. It causes severe long-term hardship,
impoverishment and other damage including loss of dignity.
Therefore, no street vendor should be forcefully evicted.
They would be relocated with adequate rehabilitation only
where the land is needed for a public purpose of urgent need.
Eviction should be avoided wherever feasible unless there is
clear and urgent public need in the land in question.
Where relocation is absolutely necessary, notice of minimum
30 days should be served to the concerned vendors.
Affected vendors/ representative’s involvement in planning
and implementation of the rehabilitation project.
Affected vendors should be assisted in their efforts to
improve their livelihoods and standards of living or at least to
restore them, in real terms to pre-evicted levels.
Loss of assets should be avoided and if possible compensated.
State machinery must take comprehensive measures to check and
control the practice of forced evictions.
hawker/ street vendor should be arbitrarily evicted in the name of
‘beautification’ of the cityscape.
The beautification and clean up programmes undertaken by the
states or towns should actively involve street vendors in a positive
way as a part of the beautification programme.
Municipal and Police Laws – Required Interventions
are certain sections of the Police Act and Indian Penal Code, which
are the main deterrents to the profession of vending. They are as
283 of the IPC (Danger
or obstruction in public way or the line of navigation) Whoever, by
doing any act or by omitting to take order with any property in his
possession or under his charge, causes danger, obstruction or injury
to any person in any public way or public line of navigation, shall
be punished with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees. The
offence punishable under this section is the nuisance of causing
34 of the Police Act No person shall cause obstruction in any
street or public place by –
Allowing animals or
Leaving any vehicle
standing or fastening any cattle in the street or in the public
Using any part of a
street or public place as a halting place for vehicles or cattle
Leaving any box,
bale package or other things whatsoever or upon a street for an
unreasonable length of time or contrary to any regulation
By exposing anything
for sale or setting out anything for sale in or upon any stall,
booth, board, cask, and basket or in any other way whatsoever.
two provisions create the contradiction between a legal
‘licensed’ vendor and ‘illegal’ obstruction or causing
nuisance resulting in physical eviction of even licensed vendors.
policy recommends that Central Government and all States should
amend the Police Act and Rules/Regulations thereunder and add a
rider as follows:
in case of street vendors /hawkers and service providers with
certain reasonable regulations”
Government should also amend the
Section 283 and Section 431 of IPC and
include the rider as mentioned above.
state government should also remove the restrictive provisions in
the Municipal Acts to make street vendors inclusive in the city
monitoring by external authorities, it is extremely important for
the street vendors to practice Self-Regulation especially with
respect to the following:
quality control: It is most important with respect to food
vending especially in sensitive areas like near schools, parks etc
where there is considerable exposure to children.
Though quality control is essential, the practice of
‘health inspector’ may not necessarily be suitable or
street vendors should assume responsibility to keep the
environs clean – by properly disposing the waste etc.
Scale of operation
(Number of vendors to operate in specified area) Every land use has
a ceiling and it is true for hawking also.
Overuse can cause complications drawing stringent actions,
which can be avoided if the specifications are adhered to.
Therefore, the quantitative norms should be respected by
hawkers as a measure of self-regulation
in terms of number of a typical trade to be allowed in a
system in participation with hawkers union / association may be used
to regulate the scale of operation so that the ceiling limit is not
Access to Credit
Street Vendors being a part of the unorganized sector have little or
no access to credit from the formal sector financial institutions
particularly for their economic activities without which they will
have to depend on private moneylenders borrowing at higher interest
rates. NABARD has already started refinancing banks in rural areas
for on-lending to Self-Help Groups (SHGs) for income generation
activities. Likewise, banks should be encouraged
to extend credit to SHGs of vendors.
Vendors' Associations should be assisted by NGOs and under SJSRY
Scheme for organizing SHGs, networking and federating the SHGs to
create a financial interface between the vendors and formal sector
financial institutions to gain access to larger credit not only for
income generation but also for housing whenever the need arises.
Insurance / Social Security
the Insurance Sector has opened up in a big way, according to IRDA,
only 12% of the insurable population in India is covered by
insurance, which means an average Indian is abysmally underinsured.
Insurance is not just a privilege but also a social responsibility.
The Street Vendors being a part of the unorganized sector, the
vulnerability is very high. Hence, they should be brought under
insurance cover through the federation.
products that are offered by the Insurance Companies include death,
illness, disability, group insurance, pension fund etc.
our country, though the need for social security is very high,
provision of extending social security to the unorganized sector
through governmental sources with meager sources would be a
difficult proposition. So far, Government efforts have been
restricted to Old Age Pension.
Hence, it is imperative that the unorganized sector should
evolve a mechanism to mobilize
funds to invest in extending social security to the clients in the
security generally covers medical care, sickness, maternity
benefits, employment injury, inability and survivors' benefits, old
age pension etc. Social security laws in our country are broadly
divided into two categories viz. contributory and non-contributory.
The contributory laws are those which provide for financing the
social security programmes by contribution paid by workers and
employers and in some cases supplemented by contributions / grants
from the government. Important contributory schemes include ESI,
Provident Fund, Pension and Deposit Linked Insurance schemes etc.
Non-contributory laws are workmen's Compensation Act, Maternity
Benefit Act and Payment of Gratuity Act. Most of these acts are
applicable to organised sector labour.
Street Vendors are not only a part of the unorganized sector but
also are self-employed and the contribution has to come only from
the Street Vendors themselves. Though insurance schemes are
available to the unorganized sector of which Street Vendors are a
part, as the workers are dispersed, it is difficult for the
promoters of these schemes to create /gain access for their
two options are available for enlisting Street Vendors for the
social security benefits:
Collection of the contribution of Street Vendors by the
registration office on monthly basis.
Creation of Welfare Board for Street Vendors. Either bank
should be instructed to collect the money from vendors, or the
vendors can deposit their contribution in banks on monthly basis. At
the end of the month, the banks will transfer the money to the
Welfare Boards. Ministry
of Labour should take
initiative for creating Welfare Boards on the lines of Welfare Board
for Construction Workers/ Beedi Workers
A fixed amount will be deposited for a variety of social
security benefits including health, medicare, family pension. This
kind of arrangement would require enactment of an Act.
Other option is that the Street Vendors'
unions should be assisted by NGOs or other agencies to promote
Self-Help Groups and networking and federating them to emerge as a
financial institution, which will look into extending credit and
also delivering other products such as insurance, old age pension
products under social security programme could interalia also cover
insurance for health facilities;
old age pension
child care facilities
vendors are vulnerable to loss of goods due to natural as well as
manmade disturbances that adversely hampers their economic
situation. There should
be special insurance schemes to cover their products.
Training and Skill Upgradation
vendors being micro enterprises should be provided with training to
upgrade their technical and business skills so as to increase their
income as well as to look for alternatives.
Organizing the Street Vendors
The Street Vendors are part of the unorganized sector.
The main objective to get the street vendors to get organised
is for providing the following services:
Access to group insurance for a variety of insurance products
Access to financial services
Development of small and medium enterprise
Vocational Training and Capacity Building for awareness as
well as skill up-gradation
addition, it is also important to organise them for creation of a
united front for negotiation / protection of their rights.
In this regard, it is required to promote organisations of
street vendors’ e.g. SHGs, Co-operatives and other forms to
facilitate their empowerment. The
organisation should build adequate systems for managing finances/
investment to be
handled by professionals.
Role of State Governments
State governments should ensure that institutional arrangements,
legislative frameworks and other necessary actions achieve
conformity with the National Policy for Street Vendors
comprehensive survey of street vendors to build an adequate database
on street vendors particularly in large and medium cities should be
undertaken by the State Governments.
Delhi Master Plan proposes to incorporate the informal sector in
trade in the planned development of various zones.
The norms are given below:
units per 10 formal shops
District Centre, Community Centre, Convenience Shopping
specified in the norms separately
& Commercial Offices
units per 1000
Trade & Freight complexes
units per 10 formal shops
units per 100 beds
unit per 2 bus-bays
units at each major entry
units per 1000 employees
Terminus To be based on surveys at the time of preparation of the
FEATURES OF THE NATIONAL POLICY FOR URBAN STREET VENDORS.
This Policy aims to ensure that Urban Street Vendors, an
important segment of the urban population, find recognition for
their contribution to society and is conceived of as a major
initiative for urban poverty alleviation by provision of and support
to dignified livelihood. The basic objectives of the Policy are:
To give vendors legal status by amending, enacting, repealing
and implementing appropriate laws and providing legitimate hawking
zones in urban development/ zoning plans.
To provide facilities for appropriate use of identified space
including the creation of hawking zones in the urban development/
To eschew imposing numerical limits on access to public
spaces by discretionary licenses and instead moving to nominal
fee-based regulation of access. Where market forces like price,
quality and demand will determine the number of vendors that can be
sustained. Such a demand cannot be unlimited.
To make Street vendors a special component of the urban
development/zoning plans by treating them as an integral and
legitimate part of the urban distribution system.
To promote self-compliance
amongst Street vendors
To promote organizations of Street vendors e.g. Unions /
Co-operatives/ Associations and other forms of organization to
facilitate their empowerment.
To set up participatory mechanisms with representation by
urban vendors’ organizations, (Unions / Co-operatives/
Associations), Voluntary organizations, local authorities, the
police, Residents Welfare Association (RWA) and others for orderly
conduct of urban vending activities.
To take measures for promoting a better future for child
vendors by making appropriate interventions for their rehabilitation
To facilitate/ promote social security (pension, insurance
etc) and access to credit for Street vendors through promotion of
SHGs/co-operatives/Federations/ Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs)
The Policy recommends that the Centre and concerned States
should amend the Police Act and Police Rules / Regulations as are
The State Governments should also remove the restrictive
provisions in the Municipal Acts and make street vendors inclusive
in the city plan/ cityscape. Similar action if necessary, would have
to be taken by the Development Authority for Development Areas.
All State Governments should ensure that institutional
arrangements, legislative frameworks and other necessary actions
achieve conformity with the National Policy for Street Vendors.
of the Policy:-
Spatial Planning Norms
Town Vending Committee
Collection of Revenue
& Police Laws
Access to Credit
Insurance / Social Security
Training & Skill Upgradation
the Street Vendors
of State Governments.
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
OF URBAN EMPLOYMENT
NIRMAN BHAVAN, NEW
As you are aware, this Ministry has formulated National
Policy on Urban Street Vendors on 20.1.2004.
A copy of the Policy Document was sent to all Chief Minister
of the States/UTs vide the then MOS’s d.o. letter No.
N-11028/2/2002-UPA-III-140 dated 11.02.2004 and subsequently to all
the Nodal Officers of the States/UTs and other stakeholders vide
this Ministry’s letter dated 19.02.2004 for suitable and
appropriate adoption in overall interest of the urban street
vendors, with or without any change, to suit local conditions and
also respecting any court decisions which may impinge on the issue.
In this connection, we propose to organize a workshop on
“National Policy on Urban Street Vendors” to review the progress
of its implementation with the State Governments and other
stakeholders in the near future.
Venue and date of the workshop will be communicated as soon
as it is finalized
I shall be grateful if you could kindly arrange to forward
the status of the action taken by your Government in the
implementation of the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors, to us
by 31st August,2004.
Chief Secretaries of all States
including Delhi and Pondicherry and Administration to UTs.
Copy for information and necessary
action to the Nodal Officer of the States/UTs.
Tel. No. 23017630