Space and the Streets: How Much can Vendors Occupy?

By Guru Kamble

The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 talks about safeguarding rights of streets vendors and their livelihoods. While regulating street vending is important, it is crucial to take into the consideration the space necessary for street vendors to carry out their business successfully on the street. This photo essays argues that if the government, through regulation limits the usage of space that can be occupied by street vendors then it might affect the livelihood of street vendors.

Space requirement varies as per the street vendor. An egg seller might need less space whereas a vegetables vendor might need more. Standardising space for each street vendor may not work. The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) act 2014 does not specify the space that should be given to street vendors, however it talks about the holding capacity of the street or vending zone i.e. the maximum number of street vendors who can be accommodated in any vending zone. However, during my interaction with the encroachment inspector of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), I found the permissible space allowed by PMC for all street vendors is 5×3 feet (5/3). On the other hand, the Delhi government street vending scheme has mentioned that street vendors can occupy 6×4 feet, which allows for far more space.

The street vendor on Sinhagad Road sells many vegetables and she needs more space than that permitted by the PMC. If she follows permissible space regulation of the PMC then she will have to stop selling some vegetables, which will affect her income.


Actual space required for fruits and vegetable street vendors at Vithalwadi Hingne market is far more than the space permitted by the PMC.
Some street vendors require very less space.  
Munder Market (Kothrud) constructed by Pune Municipal Corporation allotted 5×4 feet space to each vendor. Though this market was inaugurated in 2010, one of the reasons it failed is that the space allocated was less.

Many street vendors sell many things at the same time and use the space on the streets effectively when left to their own faculties. However, limitation on the space will also put constraints on how many goods the vendors will be able to sell. If less space is allowed then it will adversely affect the livelihoods of the street vendors.  

The summer institute is a full-fledged 3 credits course in the academic calendar of the Masters in Urban Policy and Governance program of the School of Habitat Studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. It is conducted as a continuous module of approximately 2 weeks  duration, involving immersion in a community and location. This year’s institute studied the socio-political dynamics of street vending, especially in relation to the recent Street Vending Act (2014) that cited key constitutional provisions in support of street vendors and established guidelines for state governments so that the state can safeguard the vendors’ right to livelihood. In the following month, we will be posting some of the students’ research in the form of blogs, photo essays, narratives, life stories and analytical pieces that describe in great detail the everyday lives of vendors and local street markets. Watch this space for more.

To see institute reports from previous batches visit our website:



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