Street vending is urban, non- agricultural, informal employment and makes up to around 14% of the total employment in India. There are around 5 lakh vendors in the capital, New Delhi itself. As this is an informal sector, protection and rights of the vendors is an issue that civil society organisations and trade unions often raise. An act of the parliament of India was enacted after a lot of deliberation in 2014 to regulate street vendors in public areas and protect their rights, named as Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act.
Over the years, the street vendors have organised themselves and they have a central union, The National Hawker Federation (NHF), this is a federation of 1400 street vendor organisations and trade unions of 28 states. They advocate the issues of protection of legitimate street vendors from harassment by police and civic authorities, demarcation of "vending zones" on the basis of "traditional natural markets", proper representation of vendors and women in decision making bodies, establishment of effective grievance redressal and dispute resolution mechanism and other related issues.
The Government also started one welfare scheme, in the Corona pandemic time for the street vendors called ‘Svanidhi Scheme’. This scheme ensures a working capital loan to vendors. Despite all these regulations and welfare schemes, the ground situation is slightly different. The Acts and the regulations are not implemented properly on the ground. This video will give you a perspective from the street vendors point of view and the actual issues they are still facing in Delhi.
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