Implementation of Street Vendors Act 2014: Challenges, Opportunities and Way Forward

The workshop is organised by the Centre for Urban Policy and Governance, TISS Mumbai in collaboration with the National Hawkers Federation on 17th and 18th February 2018. This is a closed workshop. 

Street vendor

The enactment of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending), 2014  is considered a progressive social policy aimed at protecting the livelihoods of street vendors, giving them representation in a decision making body that will regulate where and how vending will take place, and most importantly, including them within the social security safety nets. The Act was laid down in consonance with the principles enshrined in the constitution, namely the Article 14 (Right to Equality) and freedom to practice any profession, business or trade 19(1)(g). The state governments are required to prepare the rules for implementation of the Act. In addition to the rules, the state governments are also required to frame a scheme for street vendors after due consultations with the local authority and the Town Vending Committee (TVC). The Scheme consists of 28 items which are broadly related to details of these 5 types of activities such as survey of street vendors, certificate of vending, relocation or eviction rules, functioning of TVC, principles for restriction-free, restricted or no-vending zones, time-sharing, holding capacity of each zone, and relocation.

However, a series of studies and reports have pointed out that there is an uneven implementation of the Act cross the country, with some states having constituted TVCs without conducting surveys and registration of vendors, some states which are attempting to draft Rules and Schemes without consulting vendors and organisations working with street vendors and thus subverting the very spirit of the Act, and in some cities where evictions of street vendors are taking place on a daily basis in contravention of the Act and the Supreme Courts orders. Research also points out to the lack of knowledge about the Act and its provisions amongst street vendors across various cities in the country in spite of efforts by organisations such as the NHF and NASVI to bring about this crucial awareness. Within the unions of street vendors and researchers working on the rights of street vendors, there is also a critique of the current Act that is developing, given that it excludes certain groups such as vendors in and around railways stations and trains. In various cities, attempts are being made to sensitise lawyers, street vendors collectives and activists about the Supreme Court order and the provisions of the Act, with some success.

This national workshop is being organised to evaluate the implementation of the Act, the challenges it poses as well as opportunities it opens up, and to discuss collectively measures to go forward. The Centre for Urban Policy and Governance at TISS has been studying street vending in Kolkata for the past year and half and has also been doing fieldwork in Bhuj and Pune with regard to the same. Therefore the Centre in collaboration with the National Hawkers Federation is organising this 2 day workshop, wherein judges, activists, union members and hawkers collectives as well as academics from around the country will meet and debate and discuss the implementation of the Act, share positive outcomes, pinpoint specific issues and challenges, and strategize ways to enforce the Act, pressurise the formation of the TVC and the registration of street vendors while remaining critical of the issues and unintended effects of implementing the Act on the street vending community as a whole.

 

Workshop Schedule

Day 1, 17th February 2018

Introduction: 9.30 am to 9:45 am

Dr. Ratoola Kundu

Chairperson, Centre of Urban Policy and Governance, School of Habitat Studies, TISS Mumbai

Keynote Address: 9:45 am to 10:30 am

Saktiman Ghosh

General Secretary, National Hawkers Federation

Session I: 10:30 am to 11:30 am

Deciphering the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014

The enactment of the Street Vendors Act of 2014 has a long and convoluted history. In 2004, due to a long and sustained struggle by street vending associations, the National Policy on Street Vendors was formulated and later revised in 2009. The revised policy was not legally binding and made little progress on the matter of street vendors and only few states such as Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa took initiative for the implementation of the policy. In 2010, the Supreme Court directed the government to enact a law regulating street vending and thus, the Street Vendors Bill 2012 was drafted. The Bill was passed in both houses by February 2014 and became the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014. This Act was drafted with the legislative intent of protecting the livelihood rights of street vendors as well as regulating street vending through demarcation of vending zones, conditions for and restrictions on street vending.

This session will establish the main underlying theme of the workshop and a historical understanding of the way in which the Street Vendors Act 2014 was enacted. The session will also highlight the chief differences between the Act and the Bill as well as earlier policies that were drafted, commenting upon the shifts in perspective and what was gained and lost in the process.

Panel Discussants

  • Advocate Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya, President, All India Lawyers’Association
  • Gayatri Singh, Senior Advocate, Bombay High Court
  • Debashish Banerjee, Advocate, Kolkata High Court
  • Advocate R. Sevvilam Parithi, Vice President, NHF-Kolkata, General Secretary, NHF-Tamil Nadu
  • Ratoola Kundu as Moderator

Intervention

  • Rajesh Singhvi, Advocate
  • Ali Zia Kabir Choudhary, Advocate, Delhi High Court

Session II: 11:30 am to 1:00 pm

Issues and Challenges with respect to the constitution of Town Vending Committee and the Role of TVCs

One of the key provisions is for the formation of TVC and registration of street vendors who will then elect representatives to the TVC. This session will mainly deal with issues such as – How should the TVC be constituted? Through what mechanisms and processes? Who will take the lead in this?  What will be the ideal composition of the TVC? Who from the street vendors’ community should be part of the TVC especially in the absence of registered vendors and a process through which they elect representatives? What does the Act say about this? How have the TVCs been constituted so far and what role are they playing, what challenges are they facing? Can there be more than one TVC in a city – if so, according to what criteria? Why aren’t
TVCs involved in designing the street vending plan along with local
authorities?

Panel discussants

  • Ali Baqri, Additional General Secretary, NHF
  • Murad Hossain, Joint Secretary, Hawkers Sangram Committee
  • Jayanta Das, Additional General Secretary, NHF
  • Kirtiman Ghosh, Central Secretariat Member, NHF
  • Ranjit Gadgil, Program Director, Parisar
  • Sitaram Shelar, Convenient, Centre for Democratic Rights, as Moderator

Intervention

  • Advocate Abhay Taksal, Convener, Shahid Bhagat Singh Hawkers’ Union
  • Advocate Ravi Shankar Dwivedi, General Secretary, Uttar Pradesh, NHF

Lunch: 1.00 pm to 2.00 pm

Session III:  2.00 pm to 4.00 pm

Discussion based break-out sessions.

Each session will have a facilitator and will get 60 mins to discuss and table key points. These key points will be shared by each group. The sharing session will be 10 mins for each of the groups to the audience. The rest of the 30 mins will be a Q and a discussion session.

  • Survey, Registration and issuance of vending Certificates

This session deals with the issues of registration and issuing of vending certificates – Any registered person may apply to the TVC for a vending certificate. In the absence
of surveys and registration of vendors, and the lack of Schemes
prepared by the state government, how will registration and issuance
of vending certificates be done? How should surveys be conducted in order to be inclusive? Who counts as a street vendor? How will itinerant vendors be counted? Who will be in charge of the surveys and validation of the data? What kind of registration process should be followed? What should be the criteria along which certificates are issued? Who will issue these certificates? What kind of entitlements and benefits accrue to these certificates? How do new vendors get registered and apply for certification? What are the norms for issuance of certificates? Will there be some caps as to how many vendors can be given certificates per area/location/city?

Participants

  • Mecanzy Dabre, Deputy General Secretary, NHF
  • Advocate Amrit Prasad, Secretary, Bihar, NHF
  • Advocate Vinita Balekundri, Legal Advisor, Maharashtra Hawkers Federation
  • Yakub Mohammad, Executive Committee Member, Central Secretariat Member, Converner, Rajashthan, NHF
  • Pratap Sahu, President, All Odisha Roadside Vendor Association
  • Aravind Unni, Urban Poverty lead, IGSSS – as Facilitator

 

  • Women hawker’s representation in TVC and hawker’s movement – emerging issues

Women street vendors play an important part in the formation of TVC. However, equal participation of women is missing from TVC at a regional level. This session deals with the current role and issues around the participation of women vendors in TVC as well as the larger movement.

Participants

  • Rimpa Ghosh, PhD Scholar, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata
  • Anita Das, Additional General Secretary-NHF, General Secretary- Ranchi, NHF
  • Lekha K.G, ALF
  • Protip Nag, Working Committee Member, Hawker Sangram Committee
  • Pravin Sinha, Labour Advisor
  • Smita Waingankar, MPhil Scholar, CUPG, TISS Mumbai as Facilitator

 

  • Designing the street vending plan, demarcation of vending and non-vending zones and the spatial regulation of street vending

The Act aims to regulate street vending through demarcation of vending and no- vending zones, lay conditions for and restrictions on street vending. The local authority shall, in consultation with the planning authority, frame a street vending plan once every five years. The Act does not specify principles to be followed by governments in allocating vending zones and the number of vendors per zone, criteria to identify natural markets.  Absence of such norms could defeat the purpose of enacting a law to ensure uniformity in the legal framework. The Act does not require the stakeholders to be consulted in the formulation of the street vending plan.  This could lead to a lack of safeguards in ensuring that plan is determined in a fair manner.

Participants

  • Hussain Indorewala, Assistant Professor, KRVIA, Mumbai
  • Pranjali Despande, ITDP, Pune
  • Bhawna Jamini, Architect, Hunnarshala, Bhuj
  • Street vending zone demarcations in progress – Odisha, Vishkhapatnam, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Arunachal Pradesh
  • Himanshu Burte, Assistant Professor CUPG as Facilitator

 

Session IV: 4.00 pm to 5.30 pm

Building alliances

There are several contestations that are emerging on the ground in different cities in spite of what Act says or purports to do. Citizens groups, shop keepers associations, fragmentation within the street vendors makes it difficult to launch a sustained struggle. What kind of alliances can be built? With whom? On what terms? Can street vendors’ movements forge alliances with other social movements, political parties etc.? Who within the community of street vendors is being left out by the Act and what can be done to extend support to these excluded or under-represented groups?

Speakers

  • Aravind Unni, Urban Poverty Lead, IGSSS
  • Roger Hina Nabam, General Secretary, All Arunachal Pradesh Hawkers and Street vendors    Federation
  • Ritajyoti Bandopadhyay, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali
  • Ksh Tama Devi, General Secretary, Manipur, NHF
  • Sandeep Verma, National Secretary, Youth Wing, NHF
  • Ghaznafar Nawab, Senior Vice President, NHF (Moderator)/
  • Simpreet Singh, PhD Scholar, CUPG, TISS Mumbai as facilitator (TBC)

 

Day 2, 18th February 2018

Session I: 10:00 am to 11:30 am

Role of state and local governments in implementing the Act

While the State government has been given the power to frame a street vending scheme specifying: (a) criteria and process for registration and issue of vending certificate; (b) eviction and relocation of street vendors and manner of confiscation of goods; (c) process for and disposal of appeals; (d) principles for determining vending zones; the local authority is in charge of deciding infractions/compliance, relocations of vendors, regulating space, carrying out evictions as and when required and penalties. This kind
of delegation of action may lead to overturning the very essence of the Act and the continuance of evictions at the whims of the local government. Why haven’t States framed Schemes or drafted the Rules? If they have, how do these Rules and Schemes
measure up to the intent of the Act? How important is it to forge ties and sensitize local
government officials who are active and committed to this cause to produce schemes that represent the interests of the street vendors?

Speakers

  • Amita Bhide, Dean, School of Habitat Studies, TISS Mumbai
  • Saktiman Ghosh, General Secretary, NHF
  • Jammu Anand, Advisor, NHF
  • Prashanta Kumar Mishra, State Secretariat member of CPI
  • Hassan bhai – Azad Hawkers Federation
  • Ritajyoti Bandyopadhay, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali as Moderator

Session II: 11:30 am to 1.00 pm

Social Security and Financial Inclusion of Street Vendors

This section of the workshop talks about social security schemes for the street vendors. Social security covers medicare, sickness, maternity benefits, employment, injury, inability and survivor’s benefits, old age pension etc (Jhabvala 2000, ILO 2000). Social protection policies in developing countries like India will almost certainly be concerned with reducing vulnerability and unacceptable levels of deprivation. Dreze and Sen (1991) try to distinguish two aspects of social security, where they describe the use of social means to prevent deprivation and vulnerability to deprivation. The social security program in India can be segmented into two parts – one is protective social security measures, largely for the formal sector workers covering medical care and benefits consisting sickness, maternity, old age and so on so forth. On the other segment, promotional social security consist security towards self-employment, wage employment and provision for basic needs such as food, health and education, especially for unorganised sector workers. Thus, it should aim at the protection and promotion of both human and physical capital.

Speakers

  • Pravin Sinha, Labour Advisor
  • Ram Shanker Tiwari, Former Labour Commissioner
  • Sanjeev Chandorkar and Jyotiramayee, Assistant Professor, Centre for Regulatory Studies (TBC)
  • Avinash Madhale, Centre for Environment Education, Pune as Moderator

Session III: 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm (Group Discussion)

  1. Summary of main points from the session – Rapporteurs presentation
  2. Prioritisation of Action Areas
  3. Way Forward – mobilisation, publication, campaigns, drafting of Rules and Schemes, role of NHF and TISS

 

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