Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Small scale sellers

Unorganized sector workers have now a social security Bill, Street Vendors Bill of 2012. It has been known that the poor migrants sell small items in the streets to make a living. They need protection from crime and their livelihoods have to be protected. Many urban centers have given licenses to sell to the registered hawkers/street vendors. In Delhi more than 120000 persons have applied for registration, but none have received licenses.In Mumbai,220000 persons have be noted selling in the streets. The municipal commissioners(mayors) make their own rules on whether to recognize the street vendors or not. Grievances redressal committee has to investigate why the commissioners do not pay attention to these poor persons.There is pressure to recognize these persons by the central government. Many make rules to cancel the vendor's licenses. There is no regulation for protection of street vendors. There is no mandate,so there were no rights given to the vendors.Rules were on the make, fine of Rs. 2000 will be charged if vendor sells without a  license. When a license is made, the identity details are noted; often nothing can be found, they have no homes, they come from far off places, they sell negligible items, balloon, cotton candy, ice cream, popcorn or street foods.Those who have been selling for a long time will get priority. Migrants resort to street vending as the last resort. With no identity, how can a license be made? With no valid address, they are truly lost people.
Many like to shop items sold by street vendors. Vendors supplement the shops and are not a competition to the shops. Often shop keepers bribe the policemen to chase away the vendors. When we visit monuments, the street vendors rush to us selling memorabilia or souvenirs at cheap prices. At once we feel that the poverty is result of monumental mistakes made by the government. The ancient monument is as ancient as poverty. Poverty is live and the stone monument is dead.Poverty depresses us and the marvels of the ancient monument is immediately forgotten.
That is why the National Advisory Committee has drafted the Street Vendors Bill. These poor sellers form the natural market. They should be given space. Otherwise they find their own locations which are viable. Poor children are mostly selling in the streets. They should be allowed after school hours to sell and make a living. Some social security must be given to the street vendors. When women sell, they have to encounter violence in the streets(remarks too). Some credit may be given so that they have a fixed way of living. Some insurance is needed as their wares are easily lost or confiscated by thieves or policemen. Mainly policemen confiscate or ask for a bribe if wares are to be returned.
Which zones would be given for them to sell? May be a layout plan be made. ID cards may be issued to the vendors.If vendors cannot be located to a new zone, they should be given some money as compensation.Often violent persons confiscate the wares of the vendors, even the police confiscates.Then what?Their zones should fixed and they should not be evicted, they should be given education on their rights. Their vending sites should be identified. They are the informal economy, they should be given supporting space.When we complain that our economy is not doing well, did we ever think how these street people live?

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