Lok Sabha

September 6, 2013

Ratna De Nag speaks on Street Vendors Bill, 2012

Ratna De Nag speaks on Street Vendors Bill, 2012

Mr. Chairman, Sir, at the very outset, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak on this Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending ) Bill, 2012.

This Bill aims to protect the livelihood rights of the street vendors and to regulate the street vending though demarcation of vending zones, conditions for and restrictions on the street vending.

Before I come back to the major features of this Bill, I would like to speak about the street vendors. As everyone here knows, the street vendors lead a normal life — we can even say they are hand to mouth – all depending on the income they earn on a given day. They are not petty shopkeepers who have a place to do their business. ‘Street vendors’ by the very name denote that their business is on the street. They have no place to go or do their business. Under such a trying circumstances, their life goes on. I hope, this Bill would go a long way in streamlining the street vending across the country.

The street vendors are often subjected to harassment by the Authorities and Officials. They have no protection; they have no social security; and their livelihood hangs in balance all the day. They live life of ‘hand to mouth’.

Sir, as per the Report of the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector, we have an estimate of the street vendors in the urban areas; and they were in the range of 17 to 25 lakh in 1999-2000. This figure must have been doubled in the following decade. So, the time is ripe to regulate the street vending across the country.

There was a proposal to extend support to the urban street vendors; and this aspect has been included as a component under the National Urban Livelihood Mission. Would the hon. Minister throw more light on this and the status?

Would the hon. Minister also highlight the major features of the revised National Policy on Urban Street Vendors? Has the Ministry studied various policies at the State level concerning street vendors? If yes, would the hon. Minister state whether some of the salient features of such State policies on the street vendors are included in the current Bill?

What is more important about this Bill is that it establishes a uniform legal mechanism for the regulation of street vending across the length and breadth of the country.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation had submitted its Report on 13th March, 2013. The Committee took more than six months to go through the Bill thoroughly; and it then came out with its recommendations.

This Committee had made suggestions, which should be considered and accepted by the Government. For example, Members of the Town Vending Committee should have a fixed tenure of five years. I think this is an important recommendation, which delineates the tenure of the Members of the TVC, which governs the whole process.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee also recommended that the vending certificate should be issued within one month. But the Bill mysteriously does not provide any time limit for the TVC to issue a vending certificate. How long should a vendor wait for a certificate from the TVC? Hence this recommendation should be included in the Bill.

Another important recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee is that the vending certificate should be renewed every three years. This is also an important recommendation and it should be included in the Bill by bringing necessary amendment.

While ventilating my views, I am very careful about the TVC not getting sweeping powers to decide on everything. It does not augur well for the country. Till now, municipal laws governed street vendors. There is no dearth of laws and Acts but when it comes to implementation and reaching out to the needy, our country is lacking. With this Bill, efforts are being made to bring the street vendors in the Concurrent List.

I am hopeful that with this Bill the street vendors would heave a sigh of relief. Thank you, Sir.