Right to the Streets and Livelihood: Recommendations for the Pune Municipal Corporation

 

 

From March 27 to April 7, 2017, the students of the Masters  Program in Urban Policy and Governance, School of Habitat Studies, TISS Mumbai studied the life and livelihood practices of hawkers, multiple vulnerabilities which the street vendors face and, the changes brought, if any, by the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation) Act, 2014 in the city of Pune, Maharashtra. The exercise benefited immensely from the guidance of two local civil society organisations – Parisar and Centre for Environment and Education (CEE). who are working on various urban issues  – public transport, strengthening public participation in planning and governance, informal workers, city planning etc.

The ten day field study highlighted the everyday violence that informal street vendors face from state and non-state actors and yet how they manage to sustain a precarious living by making claims to the space of the city’s streets. Their work also indicated that the approach to street vendors was tilted more towards the regulation of hawkers in the city rather than towards protecting their livelihoods. The approach was at best an ad hoc one, selectively including some within the ambit of licences while excluding others, and arbitrarily assigning vending and non-vending zones within the city without taking the views of hawkers and including them in the decision making process.

While developing a strong critique, the students were encouraged to brainstorm along with members of CEE and Parisar, into thinking about possible suggestions that could help improve the situation of informal street vendors in Pune. The outcome of this brainstorming process was a letter that was drafted jointly by the students and faculty of the Centre for Urban Policy and Governance at TISS Mumbai, CEE and Parisar, Pune. The letter was addressed to the Municipal Commissioner of Pune Municipal Corporation. Here we reproduce the letter to indicate what the the collaborators of this exercise thought were the key actionable points with respect to protecting the livelihoods of street vendors in Pune.

 

April 07, 2017

 

To

The Municipal Commissioner,

Pune Municipal Corporation

Pune, Maharashtra

Subject: Study of Street vendors in Pune conducted by students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

Dear Sir,

Students of Masters in Urban Policy and Governance under Centre for Urban Policy and Governance, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, in collaboration with Parisar and Centre for Environment Education (CEE), Pune conducted a study of street vendors in Pune City as a part of Summer Institute from 27th March, 2017 to 7th April 2017.

Summer Institute is conducted as a continuous module of approximately 2 weeks duration, involving immersion in a community and location. Students studied 10 street vendor market areas in Pune, interacted with various stakeholders like TVC members, Encroachment Department, Traffic Police and other concerned departments.

A report of the study will be released shortly.

Following are the suggestions/findings emerging out of the two week-long study regarding the implementation of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014.

  1. The current practice in the Pune city is tilted towards regulation and needs to be balanced with enabling livelihoods as per the spirit of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014.
  2. There seems to be confusion regarding the need of a licence in addition to the Certificate of Vending. However, the Act, recognizing the fundamental right to vend, under article 19(g) of the Constitution, has done away with the concept of a licence. The Encroachment Department, especially the staff that carries out evictions, should be instructed accordingly, after seeking legal clarification for this.
  3. The criteria for categorisation of vendors (A/B/C/D/E), which is based on temporality should be revisited. Other parameters should be included for categorisation like widows, single mothers, old age etc. instead of only years of vending.
  4. All existing natural markets should be documented; such markets should be protected as far as possible. Relocation should be considered in extreme cases and should be preceded by Social Impact Assessment (SIA). Natural market locations should be considered while designating vending and no-vending zones.
  5. The PMC should always carry out the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) of any proposed development project or when change in the existing infrastructure is proposed and should take measures to mitigate the impact on the Street Vendors.
  6. PMC should also conduct pre-and post-rehabilitation surveys to analyse the change in the customers and quantum of trade. Under Extreme Case and as the last resort of relocation, PMC should take active efforts to advertise the rehabilitated places so that the relocated vendors do not lose customers.
  7. The selection of relocation site should be participatory and with the parameter that there should be no loss of customer base.
  8. Pedestrian sidewalks should be wide enough and designed in a way to accommodate street vendors.
  9. The Encroachment Department should follow the procedure for confiscation and reclamation of goods as per the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014.
  10. The vending fees should not be charged only based on the market location where the vendors are placed in but also based on the kind of goods they are selling and the vending space they occupy. Equitable weightage should be allocated to each parameter after the study.
  11. Awareness workshops should be conducted for concerned Local Body officials regarding the 2014 Act, related policies; sensitisation among citizens; among vendors regarding their rights and also for clarity of terms in the Act.
  12. Public/ civic amenities like water, electricity, toilets for vendors should be duly provided on a priority basis. 
  13. ULBs should take steps to facilitate microcredit facilities for street vendors and hawkers.
  14. Since road space sharing is a major point of contention between different users, priority should be given to vending as a right to livelihood rather than on-road parking (private use of public space). Hence, parking charges should be higher than Vending fees.

Yours Sincerely,

 

Dr. Amita Bhide

Professor and Chairperson

Centre for Urban Policy and Governance

School of Habitat Studies

Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

Mr. Avinash Madhale

Program Officer

Centre for Environment Education

Pune

Mr. Ranjit Gadgil

Program Director

Parisar, Pune

 

A signed copy of the letter can be downloaded here: PMC Commissioner Letter_ about Street Vendor Study.

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: http://urk.tiss.edu/winter-institute.html

 

 

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A View From The Top: What Government Officials Think of Street Vending

By Sanika Godse

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Paud Phata Fish Market, Photograph by Martin Pheiga

The livelihood of street vendors is influenced by an intricate grid of customs, laws and regulations, and an array of state and non-state actors that interact with them daily. While the existing perspectives pit the state against street vendors, or else, points to the active collusion between state functionaries and vendors; this piece seeks to nuance the characterisation of the state actors vis-a-vis the vendors by highlighting how state actors perceive and empathize with street vendors. Thus it shifts the lens away from street vendors and captures the perspective of three state actors that influence the livelihoods of the fish vendors at Paud Phata Fish Market. How do they understand and imagine the role of street vendors in a city?

Zonal Encroachment Department Officer: The ‘Encroachment Department’ evokes images of ruthless, violent eviction drives. But while interviewing the Zonal Encroachment Department officer, I got a different perspective. As he explained the procedure of eviction drives, and the procedure of reclaiming the confiscated goods, he talked about how deeply it pained him to carry on with the drives. He spoke about feeling sympathetic towards poor vendors, migrants, elderly vendors etc. While these sentiments did not prevent him from carrying out his duties, interestingly, this was not just a mere feeling. Even though he believed in protection of the vendors’ rights, he said there was a gap left by the absence of clear-cut guidelines which would govern and restate the duties to be carried out by the Encroachment Department. The duty (occupation) of the officer is inherently in conflict with his social conscience.

Food and Drug Administration Officer: The FDA is one of the key stakeholders to the profession of vending, since they supply licences to all vendors selling edible items. Since food standards have to be followed strictly, it has an important task of keeping constant vigilance over the kind of food, hygienic practices etc. followed by the vendors. Since they are also involved in proceedings of court cases, they have to be very careful about the identity of a person before issuing a vending certificate for food items.

However, the officer I spoke to said that while photo-IDs, proof of residence, other identity documents are required to issue a food vending licence,  the FDA relaxes the norms and is flexible enough to allow people who do not possess any such documents to obtain a licence with a simple affidavit saying that they would not indulge in malpractices. The officer earnestly talked about conducting workshops to create awareness about hygiene, raising the standard of quality of services provided by the vendors and general awareness regarding safe food practices among vendors as a part of their already overburdened job profiles.

Here, we can see the opportunity of convergence between the officer’s occupation and his socio-economic consciousness. His duty, which allows him to enable vendors to carry out their occupation, becomes an enabling factor for the larger question of livelihood as he seeks to improve their knowledge base, implications of their actions, and an improvement in their standard of living.

Town Vending Committee member — Vendor Union Leader: One of the TVC members who was a Union Leader of Street Vendors, spoke about how the Union is not simply designated for grievance redressal, but also to codify professional ethics for the members. According to him, the members of his union were very cooperative with other stakeholders like pedestrians, residents of localities, and especially women in their surrounding areas, unlike non-union member vendors who harass them (allegedly in Mumbai).

He spoke of creating workplace ethics of mutualism, where hawkers would save the residents fuel, time and money by vending goods at specific times in their societies. The society in turn would provide the hawkers with amenities like fresh water, shade, storage space etc., provided they shared fraction of the bills for the same.

Some might argue that this is a very utopian idea of the functioning of a Vendor’s Union, but the sentiment behind these ideas is addressing the question of livelihood of all stakeholders, rather than just addressing the professional issues faced by Vendors.

However, the most significant statement made by him was that the progress of a Union is indicated not by its consolidation, but by its disintegration. After completing its function as a negotiator on behalf of individual vendors, the larger objective is to empower all vendors to live a steady life. The process of protection of livelihood, will be complete after the Unions are dissolved simply because they will have outlived their purpose.

Conclusion: It is perhaps wrong to assume that the state is an agent of violence and is blind to the poverty and vulnerability of street vendors. The perspectives of the state actors also reveal that they are also human and recognize street vendors as people and not simply an official category that is to be regulated and controlled as per law. Unfortunately this recognition does not always translate into more humane actions and thus reveals the internal contradictions that state officials face while acting according to the diktats of law.

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: http://urk.tiss.edu/winter-institute.html

 

 

 

Something’s Fishy: The Sights and Smells of a Local Fish Market

By Martin Pheiga

In the evening, if you pass through the Paud Phata Road, Pune, you will be welcomed by the smell of fish and the sight of fish sellers busy cutting and chopping their catch. For the last 45 years, the sellers have continued their trade here. Different vendors have different varieties such as prawns and mackerels to carps and eels. They obtain the fish from wholesale markets such as Ganeshpeth and Kasbapeth which are four to five kms from the market. Some vendors also sell fish they themselves caught or caught by local fishermen.

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Carps, Catlas, Eels, Mullets, Prawns, and Popplets.
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Fish vendor with her regular customer who she has known for years. 
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More customers approach as the sun sets.
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The vendor has the most varieties of fish in the entire market.

The Paud Phata Market has decreased in size over the years due to the construction of new urban infrastructures and residential buildings. The residents complaint about the smell of the fish and the vendors are forced to move away from the residential areas to a small unoccupied area under the flyover.

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The size of the present Paud Phata Fish Market

 

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This picture shows the earlier extent of the fish market — vendors claim that they used to sell fish as far as Nalstop Chowk

Today, Paud phata market is located at a busy junction where four roads meet. This market has been pushed to the junction because there is a small unoccupied, open space where no residential building is present and a Masjid which has existed as long as the market gives refuge to the vendors. However, the vendors have been losing customers due to the decrease in size of the market and the flyover which obstructs the view of the market from the other side of the road.

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The street from the eyes of the fish vendor.

The vendors sit very close to the street as they have limited space and the customers park their vehicles on the road creating more traffic jams. Also with urbanisation, new development plans are being proposed at the site of the market. This makes the fish vendors vulnerable to eviction and relocation. The existence of this small fish is under threat in the years to come.

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A board advertises the new development plan coming soon near the location of the fish market.

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: http://urk.tiss.edu/winter-institute.html

 

The Many Uses of a City Road

By Shweta Singha

I have always understood the road as a path for traffic, but when I focused on market roads such as Janwadi, Paud Phata, or Vadgaon Phata, my idea of a road was altered. People using the road might have different definitions for it, depending on how they use it. For the pedestrians, the road can be a footpath that they create by themselves in the absence of one to walk on. On the other hand, the vendors on the roadside might view roads as a public space in order to set up their stalls and earn a living by selling different goods. Also, for the vehicle drivers, the same road can create connectivities from one place to another. Be it a minor road through a market like Janwadi or be it a major road like Paud Phata, the definition of road can be unique to everyone.

Janwadi Market: Janwadi is an area where a number of lanes meet at a busy junction. Locals have shopped here for almost 60 years. This road does not just lead to a heritage market but also to the homes of a number of residents living there. Since it is a very old market, famous for its household goods, people from far away also travel to visit it. The busy nature of the market keeps the Janwadi road safe and secured. Few of the residents in Janwadi said that they hesitate to walk on the road after the clock strikes 9 at night. By that time, the market shuts down and the road is deserted. The market keeps the road alive!

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The road from the eye of a fish vendor at Paud Phata, Pune

Paud Phata Market: On the other hand, it is a completely different scene at the Paud Phata road. Located in between a flyover and an under-expansion mega city residential project, this small market consists vendors selling fruit, fish and meat. It is located at a busy junction where four roads meet. Although the fish vendors sit on the road “illegally”, they do not hesitate to continue their business because of the customers who come to buy their products regularly. Hence, even though this market is dying with the construction of the flyover, increased traffic, presence of traffic police in front of the market and  relocation of vendors due to new constructions like mega city project, the few regular pedestrians who come for a walk in the evening to this market have kept it alive.  

The lady in the picture has been selling fish in the Paud Phata market for almost 25 years now. With an open stall set up right at the junction, people in the cars stop by to look at and buy the fish. There are a few who have been her permanent customers. Some customers also travel from far away places of the city to buy their favourite fish here, the reason she says is their trust in the quality and price of her products. She hopes that the road remains busy forever as it does now because it has kept her business intact. However, the traffic police is a big problem for her business. They do not let people stop by the market. She goes on to say that if the Paud phata road would have been a deserted one, the fish market would have died by now. The fish market continues to live only because of the busy road on which they sit.

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‘No Hawkers Zone’ in the footpaths of Vadgaon Phata brings the vendors to the roads

Vadgaon Phata:  Vadgaon Phata is one of those areas where ‘no hawkers zone’ have been demarcated by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). Since no hawkers zone have been demarcated, few of the sellers have set up their stalls on the road itself, right next to the zone. Also, the pedestrians walk on this road to eat at the famous Maharashtrian food stalls and also buy fruits and vegetables. These food stalls are creating traffic jams. But on the other hand, since the pedestrians and vehicles passing by stop by to enjoy the foods offered by the food stalls, the vendors do not feel afraid to continue their business right there.  

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Roads become a source of entertainment at Janwadi, Pune

Gudi Padwa is a festival by the Maharashtrians. Hence, in Janwadi, the above road becomes a ground for celebrations where people gather after performing the puja at their own residences. Laser light shows and DJ playing Bollywood music tracks are organised on the road. Therefore, the Janwadi road becomes a stage of performance on the eve of this festival.

Hence, it can be concluded that roads are multi-functional. A mobile vendor may need the road to sell his/her products. On the other hand, the same road might offer a stationary vendor a space to set up his stall. A road might offer a driving car a route to move from one place to another and the same road might offer the driving car a space to stop by. However, existing road designs do not cater to these multiple needs of the pedestrians, vendors and traffic.

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: http://urk.tiss.edu/winter-institute.html

 

 

Closed Workshop: Becoming Smart about Settlements 

Workshop towards an edited anthology organized by the Aga Khan Agency for the Habitat and Centre for Urban Policy and Governance, School of Habitat Studies, TISS.

The symposium titled ‘Becoming Smart about Settlements’ organized in August 2016 by AKAH and CUPG seeded the idea of an edited anthology that would examine different aspects of urbanization and related policy making in India. Accordingly, a workshop was organized in TISS over June 20-21, 2017, in which experienced academics, researchers, policy makers and planners from across the country who were invited to contribute to the anthology, presented their ideas. The two day event generated lively debate and discussion opening up interesting angles of approach towards diverse processes of urbanization as well as their relationship with the logics, challenges and possibilities of policy responses. Workshop participants included Lalitha Kamath, Malini Krishnankutty, Avinash Madhale, Anant Maringanti, O P Mathur, Partha Mukhopadhyay, Abhay Pethe, and Vidyadhar Phatak. Amita Bhide and Himanshu Burte, who are editing the book, also participated. The book will also carry contributions by Gautam Bhan, Darshini Mahadevia, and M. Vijaybaskar. It is expected to be published by the end of 2017.

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Becoming Smart

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Photo Essay: The Everyday Plight of Mobile Vendors

By Sushil Kumar

Mobile vendors move from one place to another to sell their goods and services. They use four wheeler carts (thella) and two wheelers bicycles, among other things. Some also use their bodies to carry goods from one place to another. Mobile vendors also have fixed areas where they can sell and often move approximately within 1km radius of their spots. The important thing about the vendors we spoke to was that they have no certificate and can be evicted any time by the Encroachment Department (ED). Every day, many said that they had to pay some charges based on the quantity of goods they were caring and yet, often their goods confiscated by the ED. The vendors said that the ED charges approximately Rs 500 on an average every time they are caught. Many of these vendors said that they do not pay fines to release their confiscated good and hence make a loss. Some, over a period of time, have made links with the Encroachment Department’s workers who inform them before the eviction drive.

An old vendor told us that he had to pay Rs 20 every day to the market’s assigned watchman who informs the vendor the moment the encroachment department approaches. However, sometimes he is unable to do this in time and his goods are confiscated and he has to pay a charge Rs 500 to free his goods. While the goods confiscated they don’t receive any kind of receipt from the officers for the release of their goods.

 

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Every morning, the man in the picture comes from a village located outside Pune and goes home at 8pm. He earns Rs 300-350. He pays Rs 20 everyday to the market’s watchman for any information on the Encroachment Department. 

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The man in the picture sells ‘mogre ke gajre’ and earns Rs 200 daily. He made them in his home and sells it in the market near the temple. He also has another job and comes for a few hours near the temple to sell the fresh, flower garlands.

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This man sells ice cream and kulfi near Tulsibaug all day. He makes ice-cream and kulfi at his home. He invest Rs 200 everyday and earns Rs 400 to 500. He has been evicted by the Encroachment Department several times and has paid fine to rescue his cart. The ED claims that his cart creates traffic problems. He also works another job in his free time.

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This van is owned by a person who parks it everyday from 11am to 9pm near Janwadi. He has a registration certificate for permanent vending. He has sold eatables out of his van for eight years. He claims that the ED has also evicted him several times. The staff blames him for blocking traffic at an important junction.

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: http://urk.tiss.edu/winter-institute.html

 

A Day in the Life of a Road-side Car Mechanic

By Kanksshi Agarwal

Our fieldwork focused on street vendors, their livelihood and the awareness around the Street Vendors act of 2014. For me, this experience made a non-hawker story’s who also worked on the streets but out of a an authorised tin-shed, interesting. What makes an authorised shop owner selling on the streets different from hawkers on the same footpath? How are their struggles different?

Kanksshi

Umesh is a well-built young, entrepreneur and mechanic, who offers services on the streets. He operates from a semi-permanent tin structure on the footpath of Laxmi Nagar Road in Pune City. The shop was authorised 30 years ago. It was certified in 1986 as a semi-formal shop for repairing and fixing of automobiles. There are no rules currently talking about such authorised shops, making no provisions for a renewal for their certificate. However, it has kept him out of ambit of the Encroachment Department, the wrath of which the vendors have to bear every other day.

“As a hawker you learn to be persistent about your livelihood which is selling on road or doing business by going around, or settling and fighting for your rights. You will learn to work around the evictions and the encroachment department officials.” — Union Leader of Hawkers’ Association, Pune.

His shop is placed on the footpath, and shares a wall with another mechanic’s business. He is not a vendor, but he works and shares the space with the vendors on the streets. While his shop is authorised, the vendors are still fighting their battle to get certified through the National Street Vendors Act of 2014. Though he is privileged in comparison to a hawker, his ordeals are not any lesser.

Umesh studied engineering in the University in Pune, and was employed at Bajaj. After a span of seven years he was made the head of his department. However, he lost his job in 2008 after a series of firings citing the economic depression as the reason. Today, his daily routine on the footpath is similar to any vendor. He starts his day at 10am in the morning, accesses the public toilet in the area, fetches water from a municipal tap at the end of the road, works in his workshop, and also visits his special customers to repair at the location of their auto-break down. He faces the ridicule like other vendors do from some pedestrians, but he is aware he is not wrong in running his business. Sometimes a street vendor, we noticed, lacks this confidence and self-awareness. While, Umesh says that encroachment is wrong, he believes that commuters, pedestrians, vehicle owners and vendors must all have a right to optimally use public spaces.

Usually the commuters are his daily customers. He lives in a nearby colony. He has a wife, and a kid, whom he aspires to send to a private school. “If I had a formal job, I would have earned equivalent or lesser than what I make as a mechanic, but it would have been easier to get my child admitted to school,” he says speaking of the prejudices against blue-collar workers that sometimes affect prospects of getting their children into good private schools.  “I doubt the education system in this country and the mindset around employability after formal education. I think everyone must be empowered to think about business”.

He compares an employed individual to an entrepreneur/business owner. Skills for running a business can be passed from generation to generation. This he says is not possible in a merit-based organised sector employment. Vendors should be allowed to run businesses since self-employment can prevent them from taking up menial labour jobs with little job security. With his own business he feels free to work, as he works for himself. He thinks vendors are doing a great job by believing in the strength of livelihood generation through networking and honest business making skills. However, he constantly struggles with getting cooperation from his fellow vendors. If he asks someone not to park in front of his shop, as it impedes access to his shop, many ignore his request.

This worries him since his shop is his primary source of income. It is a 5×3 metre shop, and it retains the essence of informal, friendly atmosphere that he missed during his days on working in a corporate formal organisation. Today while working on a tyre, he can sip tea and share ideas on entrepreneurial empowerment that comes with the selling on streets. As I hang around the shop I realise he has acquired some goodwill over the years. People come and chat with him. I asked him, if these were his customers and he said, his customers have now become good friends and share good rapport with him and meet him even without work requirements.  “We are on streets, for (the benefit of) those who use the streets (commuters and pedestrians). They require us to be here for their own easy access,” he says.

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: http://urk.tiss.edu/winter-institute.html