Street vendors for law to stop their victimisation

Street vendors from across the country are sending postcards to Congress president Sonia Gandhi demanding a law for their welfare and social security.

Last Updated: Aug 02, 2013, 22:09 PM IST

New Delhi: Street vendors from across the country are sending postcards to Congress president Sonia Gandhi demanding a law for their welfare and social security and to check their growing victimisation.

The campaign launched by the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) is to ensure early passage of Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament beginning Monday.

The campaign will continue till August 10, NASVI national coordinator Arbind Singh said.

"The Union Cabinet has already approved the revamped bill. There should not be any further delay in introducing and passing it," he said.

He said since the time of framing of national policy for Urban Street Vendors in January 2004, more than a million street vendors have been displaced in the name of development projects or city beautification drives.

The 2010 Commonwealth Games had hit thousands of vendors in the national capital, he said.

"This year, vendors and hawkers faced brutal police action in Mumbai. A large number of them were displaced and a fruit vendor Madan Jaiswal died of heart attack during police action. The young daughter of the deceased vendor also died battling trauma. The incident led to series of protests, but the guilty police official remained unpunished," he alleged.

He said the level of rights abuse is such that it undermines the fundamental rights of the street vendors, such as right to social dignity in employment and individual rights to work and non-discrimination.

"In such circumstances, the sustenance of livelihood with dignity and the education and the health of the family members of street vendors becomes a battle for life," the NASVI coordinator added.

A nationwide mobilisation of street vendors had influenced the NDA government in 2004 to formulate a National Policy for Urban Street Vendors.

The policy accorded legal identity to street vendors as it legitimised street vending and put a framework before the urban local bodies under which conducive and supportive environment had to be created to protect the livelihood of millions of street vendors.

PTI