E-Governance in the Streets of Pune

By Arunav Chowdhury

Pune is an important metropolitan centre in Maharashtra and also an IT and education hub with a population of more than five million. Administering a city of this size is a herculean task and it becomes imperative that information is made available to people at their fingertips and governance is made more accessible.

There is an urgent need in delivering governance through modern methods and processes. Electronic governance or e-governance is the application of information and communication technology (ICT) for delivering government services, exchange of information, communication transactions, integration of various stand-alone systems and services between government-to-customer (G2C), government-to-business (G2B), government-to-government (G2G) as well as back office processes and interactions within the entire government framework. (Saugata, 2007).

Given the trend of digitisation and the Government’s policy of Digital India, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has also taken a slew of initiatives in that direction although E-governance in the city is not new. Here are a few of them:

 

CIVIC COMPLAINTS VIA WHATSAPP Citizens are now able to register their civic-related complaints just by sending SMSes to their local ward officer, ward medical officer, medical inspector, deputy city engineers or junior engineers.

Complaints pertaining to problems like irregular water supply, breach in pipelines, potholes, broken footpaths, uneven lids on manholes, garbage clearance, illegal hawkers, cleanliness of public areas and street lights can be made by citizens.

COMPLAINTS WEBSITE Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has tied up with the Citizen Empowerment Forum to register their complaint through the Internet.

The system enables the citizens to file their complaint online and the complainant can check the status of the complaint on the net.

PMC CARE An app for complaints, to share information and get ‘live’ updates from the corporation. 
DIGITAL LITERACY E-governance training programmes to meet the needs of PMC employees by training them on conceptual and practical aspects of Information and Communication Technology.
TRAFFICOP The programme consists of a software application that runs on mobile devices linked to a server that stores all customised vehicle and license holder data. When the traffic officer logs into his/her device, he/she can enter the vehicle and license details of the offender and will automatically obtain a record of the offenders’ past history.
BUDDYCOP Buddy Cop is a WhatsApp group administered by a police officer where working women, especially in IT and banking sector, join to ensure they have immediate access to the police in a dire situation.
E-CHALLANS Around 1250-odd CCTV cameras are installed across the city, of which more than 200 have the options to tilt,pan and zoom. These cameras provide live feed to the main police control room. A screen-grab of a violation is culled from this footage as photographic evidence.
The offender is then sent a text message with the E-Challan. The city police have also introduced swipe machines to enable the offender to pay through cards.
SOCIAL MEDIA The city police has an active Facebook and Twitter Page.
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Image link – http://www.hindustantimes.com/pune-news/how-much-does-pune-municipal-corporation-care/story-M3AoTO8y5iqV95Ls2tl63M.html

Regarding civic complaints and grievance redressal issues, people complain that the PMC has a poor track record on grievances.  Currently, the PMC runs six different helplines, each one addressing a different issue. While the garden department started helplines to register tree cutting, tree falling and the rescue of injured or trapped animals, the garbage department started a helpline to alert authorities towards locations where garbage hasn’t been cleared. The citizens say that registering a complaint is not the issue, but the fact that there is no follow up from the officials makes the umpteen number of helplines a futile exercise.

With regards to the E-challans, the Pune Traffic Police have been unable to recover fines amounting to whopping Rs 13 crore from traffic rule violators over the past six months although it has been able to issue e-challans swiftly.

While e-challans are being issued swiftly, there is no mechanism as yet to recover the fine amount from offenders. Through the CCTV-based ‘third-eye’ system, the unpaid dues have reached Rs 7,49,07,400, while the unpaid dues through cases filed by traffic personnel on the streets is Rs 5,77,55,708. Which mean, collectively, the traffic rule violators of Pune owe the traffic police Rs 13,26,63,108 in fine.

If a violator fails to respond to the notice, a court case will be filed and the procedure will be initiated. Therefore, not only does the new system promise increased strain on the judiciary, its introduction has failed to ensure traffic discipline or regulation of numbers of traffic rule violations in the city.

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The Winter Institute is a full-fledged 3 credit Course in the academic calendar of the Masters in Urban Policy and Governance program of the School of Habitat Studies conducted in the first year. It is conceived as a platform for interdisciplinary collaborative learning through research and action in the field. The blog series showcases the work, reflections and opinions of the students, and not the Centre.

To see institute reports from previous batches visit our website: http://urk.tiss.edu/winter-institute.html

 

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Smart City to Our City: Why Citizens Should Shape Their Cities

By Suvedh Jaywant

“Arre beta hi Smart City nahi Udyog kiti aahe! Changle raste aani property todun tithech kahitari navin banavun paise khanyache udyog chalavle aahet ya lokanni” (Son, this is not Smart City, this is Business City! This is the business of breaking something good that already exists and building over it to make money,” said Mr  Shivashankar, a coconut seller on the Dhole Patil road (DP Road), in Aundh, Pune. He meant that existing good quality public infrastructure is demolished and retrofitted again and again under the name of Smart City. He said this entire process was linked to corruption. The allegations made by this vendor on the footpath gave us an idea of the perception of the impoverished, common man towards the government’s Smart City Mission.

DP Road is one of the nine streets of Aundh which has been chosen to be developed into Smart Streets under the Pune Smart City Project. We, the students of the School of Habitat Studies, TISS, Mumbai, conducted a survey of these nine streets under the Winter Institute* coursework.

A popular school on the DP road provides services to around 7000 students in the area making it an important stakeholder in the process of transformation of the road. As a part of our survey, we decided to meet the principal of the school to understand her idea of a ‘Smart City’. She was happy with the overall idea of the Smart City, but was complaining about the newly constructed e-Public toilet and a bus stop shelter just outside the school. According to her, this bus stop shelter was installed just six months ago and no commuters boarded the bus from this point since it was the second last stop of the city bus. She felt that the bus-stop had become a nuisance for the school since boys from the neighbouring slum sit there the entire day. She mentioned that a few eve-teasing incidents had also taken place causing serious security concerns for the school. The school was in plans of requesting the ex-mayor of the city (a local informal power personality), who was also on their management board, to look into the matter and get the bus-stop shelter removed.

Just three days later, while we were on our field doing our survey, we saw a bulldozer demolishing this bus-stop. The photo clearly shows that the authorities could have neatly uninstalled it, however, they just evicted the structure with a bulldozer, making it not fit for reuse and increasing the scrap. When I was clicking the photo of this incidence, few more passers-by gathered there and started discussing how this bus-stop was installed only few months ago and how this process of installation and eviction is waste of public money.

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The question here is not whether the eviction of bus-stop was a right thing to do or not, but, certainly, some other basic questions like:

  • Who decided to install a bus-stop with the waiting area there? Were the residents consulted when the bus-stop was installed?
  • Who was consulted before the demolition? Was the opinion of all residents taken before this step?
  • Why didn’t the school or other residents take any objection while installing the bus stop?
  • Who will bear the financial loss incurred out of this installation-uninstallation activity?
  • Is this haphazardly demolished new bus-stop just going to be a piece of scrap for the municipality?
  • And most importantly, why aren’t the citizens opposing such unnecessary expenditure? 

It seemed like Mr. Bhimashankar’s perception about the smart city project was true. We often think public infrastructure is a common property owned by nobody. It belongs to the Government. So we tend to neglect the way it is developed or maintained and the government authorities are free to execute the works as per their convenience. However, public infrastructure is public property i.e. the property which is owned by all of us. We all are collectively responsible for its development and maintenance. The people should feel that this is my street and I should be a part of the development process. This feeling is not seen in the people. The municipal authorities also get orders from the top and just execute the work.

Till when will the ‘top-down’ approach continue? Does Smart City mean only creating new infrastructure? Or is there a need to involve the real owners of the city i.e. the people, in planning processes? Isn’t there a need to create smart citizens too? A sense of ownership must be created among the citizens to get their active participation and making the streets smart. Else the blame game between citizens and institutions will be continued even in this ‘Smart’ Era.


The Winter Institute is a full-fledged 3 credit Course in the academic calendar of the Masters in Urban Policy and Governance program of the School of Habitat Studies conducted in the first year. It is conceived as a platform for interdisciplinary collaborative learning through research and action in the field. The blog series showcases the work, reflections and opinions of the students, and not the Centre.

To see institute reports from previous batches visit our website: http://urk.tiss.edu/winter-institute.html

 

To Park or Not to Park: The Legitimacy of No-parking signs on the streets of Pune

By Anna Brittas

During our short stint in Pune one of the very interesting things that we noticed were the signages. Under the broad heading of these signs, no-parking signs stood out due to their sheer abundance. What was really engaging was the fact that the signs came in different shapes, sizes and colours and were sometimes even in the form of barriers. It almost seemed like anyone and everyone could put up a ‘no parking’ sign. How do people especially motorists and vehicle owners view these signs and do they follow them while parking?

Various observations on the field revealed mixed patterns. There were areas such as the main roads where these signs were blatantly ignored while in some of the interior roads and those that were more residential there were fewer instances. The legitimacy factor of these signs can be arrived only when there is necessary infrastructure to implement it. The Motor Vehicles Act section 119/177 lists out all offences under the ambit of parking and also establishes the fine amount that contains both the toeing and the compounding fee which together fall in the range of Rs 150-300. So in effect what can be seen is that if the municipalities or the traffic police don’t have the necessary equipments then they cannot really perform their duties and therefore the motorists have no fear of parking in no-parking zones.  Considering that parking is a major issue and how vehicles parked in an unruly manner are the prime cause of obstruction in the movement of pedestrians in any street, it’s not surprising that there is such a huge number of such signs and barriers. All of this is linked to Pune’s rapid growth and urbanization in the last few decades and its emergence as a hub of manufacturing and IT services. Comparing the Census of India, 2001 and Census of India 2011, Pune has witnessed a population growth rate of 30.37%. All of these have led to increased congestion on the roads and problems in parking and crunch in spaces for pedestrians to move freely.

It’s also fascinating how residents themselves erect these boards near their gates, and also how they manage to deal with the vehicles if in case they are parked in these self-created no parking zones.

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A classic sight of violation, as seen at a residential area in Kothrud, Pune.
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An effective way of ensuring a no-parking zone through barriers (Aundh, Pune)
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A market for no-parking signs exists, wherein the signs also act as advertisements. (Kothrud,Pune)
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A very interesting sight if one carefully notices, of a bicycle not just parked, but locked on the signage. Shows an alternate albeit contradicting use of the sign. (Shaniwar wada, Pune)
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A space for 4-wheeler parking taken over by two-wheelers (Aundh, Pune)

 

                       

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Random scribbling of ‘no parking’ on walls, but no legitimacy whatsoever (Aundh, Pune)

                   

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An informal way of making sure vehicles are not parked in front of gates of residential complexes.(Aundh, Pune)

                           

To conclude, it is very clear that various areas in Pune have a parking crisis. According to Pune Municipal Corporation’s Environment Status Report for the year 2016-17, the vehicle population is equal to the city’s population and in fact the ratio of vehicles compared to per person is more than 1 which is quite high. The need of the hour is to have a control on this growing number of vehicles which would require looking into the public transport system in Pune and also to encourage cycling and incentivizing it as Pune is known as the cycle city. An improvement of the services of buses, autorickshaws and other such modes will definitely help curb the problem. On the supply side, parking regulation needs to be in order so as to lessen the problems on the street as it can be noticed that there is no dearth in street signs in Pune but rather it’s a question of who governs them and whether any action is taken or not by the authorities because otherwise the signs are redundant.


The Winter Institute is a full-fledged 3 credit Course in the academic calendar of the Masters in Urban Policy and Governance program of the School of Habitat Studies conducted in the first year. It is conceived as a platform for interdisciplinary collaborative learning through research and action in the field. The blog series showcases the work, reflections and opinions of the students, and not the Centre.

To see institute reports from previous batches visit our website: http://urk.tiss.edu/winter-institute.html

 

Mini Public: Bringing Diverse Voices Together

By Tushar Anand

A Mini-Public event was organised by the Centre for Environment and Education (CEE) and Centre for Urban Policy and Governance on October 14, 2017 in Aundh, Pune, with the idea of bringing various stakeholders on the same table to deliberate on the topic of development of the streets. The name ‘Mini-Public’ itself alludes to the emphasis upon greater civic participation and social inclusion in the process of development. For this event, the Samvaad Hall at the YASHADA Administrative Training Institute in Baner, Pune was chosen. It seemed to be the perfect location for the event since samvaad literally translates to dialogue.

We the students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences were volunteers and facilitators for the day. The hall was arranged with five different tables with ten chairs each. Care was taken to ensure that each table had equal representation from all groups, and no particular group dominated the flow of discussion in any table. A separate utility table was set up at the back of the room which held an assortment of stationery, card papers, permanent markers, and rolls of fake currency which were to be used as props as the event progressed.

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Separate tables, similar agenda. Picture courtesy: Abhishek Anil

The stakeholders started arriving around 11am, but the work behind the scenes is important to highlight. The stakeholders in the Aundh-Baner-Balewadi area were identified and their opinions were analysed as a part of the fieldwork done by the students for a few days before the event. CEE also had a major role to play, since they had been closely involved in the Smart City project which is being implemented in the area. It was important that the informal vendors in the area were provided with a platform to raise their concerns, and special care was taken to include them in the discussion. A significant point to remember is that these informal vendors work on a daily-wage basis, and their participation in the event meant that they would lose out on their livelihood for the day. This point wasn’t lost on the organizers, who compensated them for their time and participation in the event (although, the vendors themselves had no idea that this would happen at the time when they agreed to be a part of the event- which negates the argument that they participated solely for monetary benefits). The collective efforts bore fruit on the day the event was organized, when a substantial participation of such stakeholders was observed- a pleasant surprise for both the organizers and the students, who were still uncertain of the level of participation on the actual day. It was the allure of making their voices heard on a platform of equal opportunity, and being a part of discussions which they had been denied previously, which drew them to the event. A definite triumph for the organizers who envisioned the event for the empowerment of the weaker sections of the society, who probably had the most to lose and the least to gain with the current mode of implementation of the Smart City project, and no other platforms to make their voices heard.

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Deliberations, discussions and debates. Picture Courtesy: Abhishek Anil

The whole event was conducted in the local language Marathi to facilitate conversations among the stakeholders and make the people more comfortable while listing out their concerns and expectations from the project in particular, and governance as whole. The first round of discussions were conducted in two phases, with each table listing down the “Things we Want” and “Things to Change” as separate lists. Collectively, these lists represented the demands and expectations of various groups and every issue was meticulously debated and deliberated upon. It must be kept in mind that the vendors were sitting on the same table with residents and traders probably for the first time, and it’s quite understandable that the discussions were a bit insipid in the beginning. However, soon they lost their inhibitions and the room was full of voices from every corner of each of the tables. Every table had facilitators, translators and record-keepers, both from CEE and TISS, who would facilitate discussions and ensure that the core issues were being discussed, and recorded judiciously.

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Voices for inclusive participation in decision-making. Picture Courtesy: Abhishek Anil

Mere discussions were not the only agenda of the day. In order to understand the actual decision-making process and participatory governance in action, each member at the tables was given a set amount of fake currency which they had the right to allocate to various issues that they had commonly decided earlier in the day. The idea was to understand the decision-making process by a governing authority which has a set budget to implement a project within a definite time period, at an individual level through the medium of collective participation. Fourteen key issues had been identified by the earlier deliberations, and each issue was discussed again with every individual allocating set resources towards each problem. For example, if waste management was an issue that people wanted to be improved in their area, they could allocate greater amount of ‘money’ to that problem and hence it would indicate a higher priority by the majority. The whole act had all the markings of a classical ‘game’ (from Game Theory in Economics) – with a stratified random sample group having to make decisions in accordance with predetermined set of rules. It is interesting to note that upon repetition of the game (there were two rounds with similar rules), the groups came to a better consensus in the understanding of the issues (which was evident in the high allocation of resources towards common issues such as better quality and access to public services and utilities) – a phenomenon that bears close resemblance to Nash’s predictions*.

Aside from the fact that this particular part of the event is of great fascination to anyone with a mild interest in behavioural economics and group psychology, the participants were very satisfied with the event. It was the first instance of participatory democracy and collective decision-making in practice, and there was great enthusiasm among all the stakeholders who devoted an entire day to deliberate upon the issues that affect everyone. It’s hardly surprising that all the participants responded with a resounding “YES” when asked whether they would be a part of similar events in the future as well.


* One of the most important ideas in John Nash’s famous concept of equilibrium in Game Theory is that reiteration and repetition of games would lead to the players being more familiar with the rules, and would eventually show behaviour patterns at the Nash Equilibrium- which can be predicted and generalized.
The Winter Institute is a full-fledged 3 credit Course in the academic calendar of the Masters in Urban Policy and Governance program of the School of Habitat Studies conducted in the first year. It is conceived as a platform for interdisciplinary collaborative learning through research and action in the field. The blog series showcases the work, reflections and opinions of the students, and not the Centre.

To see institute reports from previous batches visit our website: http://urk.tiss.edu/winter-institute.html

Rethinking Smart Cities through Participatory Governance  

By Abhishek Anil

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The Centre for Urban Policy and Research at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, along with Centre for Environment Education (CEE), Pune, organised a Mini Public on the October 13, 2017. The event was a culmination of week-long fieldwork done by the students of TISS in the Aundh-Baner-Balewadi area of Pune, identified for the Smart City initiative. The project involved identifying the numerous stakeholders of the area which included residents, hawkers and owners of small commercial enterprises amongst others to create a miniaturised participatory governance process through rounds of guided discussions and deliberations.

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The event was held at Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration. Among the attendees were individuals from diverse socio-economic backgrounds engaged in different occupations. The attendees invited represented the numerous demographic groups of any urban region. The intention behind having a diverse demographic representation was to include groups which often find themselves excluded from participatory exercises and decision making processes.

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The idea behind this initiative was to bring people — from hawkers to bungalow residents — together on a common platform as equal citizens. This would then ensure a samvaad, or dialogue among the different stakeholder groups about how these groups would like their locality to be like in the foreseeable future.
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As people trickled in, a process of registration commenced. We, from TISS were frankly quite overwhelmed with the response showed by the residents of Aundh to take time out from their busy schedules to turn up for our Mini Public. The attendees were a healthy concoction of vendors, residents and especially women eager to contribute with their thoughts and actively participate in the process.

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As the invitees poured in, they were welcomed with a display of a series of posters prepared by the students. In the picture above, Anushri explains the various limbs of governance like PMPML, Pune Municipal Corporation, Pune Smart City Development Corporation Ltd etc, which determine how our city shapes up as. These posters also highlighted the condition of the indispensable workforce behind maintaining our cities. These workers belong to the various corporations like PMC and SWACHH who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the streets are clean, the drainage functional and the trees trimmed, without getting their fair share of recognition or even basic equipment.

These posters were intended to show the dynamics of governance at work, while simultaneously sensitizing the affluent of the plight of the people who keep the city trim and proper.

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After the people occupied their seats, the Mini Public formally commenced with Mr Avinash from CEE taking charge of the proceedings. The entire process was conducted in Marathi for the convenience of non-Hindi speakers. He introduced the concept of participatory governance and provided them with a broad overview of the themes for the day. The 40 attendees were then divided among six tables, with each table having a facilitator from CEE to guide them through the processes to come. Each table also had a fair representation of the various socio-economic and gender groups to make the process as inclusive as possible. To begin with, each table was asked to choose facets of their locality they wished to retain and the ones they wanted to expend, like trees, historical structures, bus stops, public toilets and such like. As different stakeholders used the streets differently, they were asked about the specific ways they viewed a space as public as a street which resulted in a plethora of responses. The facilitators at each table ensured the deliberations weren’t hijacked by a certain individual or group and the process functioned as smoothly as possible.

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The discussions were a stark departure from what we, the students of TISS observed during our fieldwork. Interactions with a PMC official, local corporators and residents showed the ideals of the 74th CAA weren’t followed in spirit. Moreover, the Smart City SPV didn’t involve enough participatory exercises to ensure inclusive governance. The hawkers and vendors were systematically left out and often treated as appendages to a broader and ambiguous notion of ‘smart city’. The demands of lower income groups were not given adequate attention while formal and established institutions enjoyed greater say in the discussions, partly because of their proximity to the decision-making elites.

We at CEE and TISS aimed to bridge this very gap and give the underrepresented a greater chance to voice their demands and concerns. While people engaged with each other across tables, we realized the people’s concerns weren’t drastically different after all. Each group did want safer streets and better public transport, and such demands cut across various socio-economic stratifications. It was quite heartening to see people recognise differences and still come together as ‘we’ and not ‘I’.

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Forceful arguments were made…
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…but there were a few light-hearted moments too.

When asked about what the stakeholders would like to retain or change in their neighbourhood, a variety of responses emerged. However, almost each member of the group could relate to it. Demands were as basic as an accessible footpath, streetlights to ensure safety and connectivity with the wider public transport system to make people’s commute easier. Rarely did we come across demands or aspirations which a certain section couldn’t relate to, which was a sign of how participatory governance processes can lead to symmetric development of the masses.

 

Discussions were followed by a process of allotment of funds. As in the real world the political economy plays a crucial role in which demands of the people are realised and which ones are shelved, this exercise made the participants realise why not all their demands are released.

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Which projects or amenities see the light of day depends on whether the taxpayers are willing to put their money into it. For this exercise, each group was given limited funds which was then collectively allotted to the numerous demands they made earlier. While a few demands were indeed funded, a few were shelved for a later day.

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We had a few serious listeners…
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…and a few delighted faces.

At the end of the exercise, the issue which got the maximum amount of funds was the revamp of public transport. This highlights how despite the earnest attempts of the government and auxiliary limbs of governance, transport in urban India remains abysmal, leading to an over-reliance on private vehicles. While the wealthy do enjoy the luxury of being able to afford vehicles, the economically vulnerable need an efficient public transport system to meet their daily commuting needs.

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And that’s how the Mini Public culminated with a lot of valuable takeaways, both for our stakeholders and us, the students of TISS.

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The Winter Institute is a full-fledged 3 credit Course in the academic calendar of the Masters in Urban Policy and Governance program of the School of Habitat Studies conducted in the first year. It is conceived as a platform for interdisciplinary collaborative learning through research and action in the field. The blog series showcases the work, reflections and opinions of the students, and not the Centre.

To see institute reports from previous batches visit our website: http://urk.tiss.edu/winter-institute.html

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

 

I am DP Road

By Tiksha Sankhe

I am Dhole Patil Road, generally people refer me as DP road. I don’t exactly remember how I was born but as far as remember I got my name because of prominent personality named Damodar Narayan Dholepatil.  I have witnessed many things in my life. I am used by people from residential areas and customers from commercial areas. I am also frequently used by vehicles and pedestrians. Local political parties use me by blocking me so that they can gain name and fame among the people to enhance their chances of getting elected. Sometimes my identity is recognised by the elected representatives. I have often heard residents saying that elected representatives are responsible for my health and my well-being. They are the one who allocate funds and direct the Pune Municipal Corporation towards any problem I may have.  Animals, poor people and footpath shops are very close to my heart as they remain with me for a long time.

I come under Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). I have seen eviction of  street vendors by PMC, in which many street vendors lose their livelihood and few of them in order to escape, collide with the vehicle and get injured. This hurts me a lot. Also I have witnessed conflict between residents and street vendors. A resident who purchases vegetables from vendor said that “These people should be evicted because they are responsible for congestion”. It confuses me — the residents who purchase vegetables from street vendors, how can the same people have a conflict with them?

Tikhsha's Sankhe
DP Road (Parihar Chowk- Before Redesigning Of Smart Street)
Tikhsha's Sankhe2
DP Road (Parihar Chowk – Smart City Street )
Tiksha Sankhe 4
Mock run held for 8 days in month of November (2016).

The PMC does not take care of me properly except when elections are near. They also only pay attention to the stretch where Smart City developments have been recently done (Picture 1).  “Smart city” — I came across this word when i heard one of the residents saying “Ab humare achche din aanewale hai. (Our good days are around the corner).” Last year before constructing the model road, mock run was done in which I was used as a one way and other lane was used by residents to walk. Most of the residents enjoyed this because it became easier for them to walk on the street during peak hours (Picture 2). Many shopkeepers protested this because their land was used for widening the footpath and they weren’t ready for this deal. Also, the hawkers were worried about their livelihood and had no idea where to go. On the other hand residents were happy because they always felt that the footpath was not safe to walk on. Also children got some space to play. Before redesigning of Parihar chowk, some presentations were shown to people by PMC . This stretch was selected by PMC because hawkers were fewer in number, there were no slums and also few residents shared good contacts with elected representatives. Redesigning was a little painful for me because the hawkers were evicted and I had to bear the anger of vehicular people as they had to use one way which caused traffic at peak hours.

Last week some students were interviewing people about ‘Smart Street’ and were clicking my pictures. In one of interviews when one of the resident was asked about her view on smart city, she replied, “Smart city should be livable and should be for the elite, well-educated and well-cultured people. Hawkers and slum dwellers should be evicted as they pollute a city.” When interviewed a cobbler who has worked on the streets for 15 years said, “What is this smart city and for who is it? Where should we go? Why are we being evicted even though we have our own license? We don’t have any right on the street, do we?”

After listening to these interviews I felt very bad as it is creating disparity among the people. I never thought that redesigning of me would lead to this. After one month of renovation I saw that parking issues still persist and congestion during peak hours has intensified.

Tiksha Sankhe 3
Ambedkar Chowk Under Construction

Now my other part (Ambedkar Chowk)  is under construction and slowly and gradually  I’ll be fully transformed into a Smart Street. One of the aspects I liked in my redesigning is about the signage. I cannot speak, but signages helps people understand me. I also enjoy how senior citizens use me for their walks and exercises. The beautification work done protects me as well as people from sunlight. I feel proud to say that women feel safe in accessing me because of street lights and also there is an emergency button (Picture 4) located on the poles.

Tiksha Sankhe 5
Emergency Button.

I really don’t know what a smart street is, but if anyone asked me my answer would be that I should be accessible for all, along with equality there should be equity. Tabhi toh achche dino ki umeed kar sakte hai! (Only then can we dream of good days!)


The Winter Institute is a full-fledged 3 credit Course in the academic calendar of the Masters in Urban Policy and Governance program of the School of Habitat Studies conducted in the first year. It is conceived as a platform for interdisciplinary collaborative learning through research and action in the field. The blog series showcases the work, reflections and opinions of the students, and not the Centre.

To see institute reports from previous batches visit our website: http://urk.tiss.edu/winter-institute.html