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  Home >> Hawkers >> National Policy on Street Vendors 2004


 National Policy on Street Vendors 2004

1. Introduction

          Street 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 authorities.   This 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.”

 Further Articles 39 (a) and (b) of the Constitution clearly mention that the State shall in particular direct its policy so that -

(a)               the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood.

(b)                the ownership and control of the material resources of the  community are so distributed as best to sub serve the common good.

 Street 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.  

2.         Definition

A 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,  etc.  

3. Overarching Objectives

The overarching objective to be achieved through this policy is to:

Provide 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.

 3.1 Specific Objectives

The 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

·        Regulation: 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.

·        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.

·        Self Compliance: To promote self-compliance amongst Street vendors.

·        Organization: To promote, if necessary, organizations of Street vendors e.g. Unions / Co-operatives/ Associations and other forms of organization to facilitate their empowerment.

·        Participation: To 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 vending activities.

·        Rehabilitation of 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