TODAY -

Taking the Street Vendor seriously
- Part 1 -

N. Brajakanta Singh *

 Thoubal  Keithel as seen on January 28 2017
Thoubal Keithel as seen on January 28 2017 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam



[This Paper was presented in the National Seminar on Issues and Challenges of Local self government in Manipur orgd. By Centre for Manipur Studies, Manipur University from Dec 14- Dec 15, 2018)]

Abstract:

Street vending in India is a reality. It is an important source of employment for a large number of urban and rural poor as it requires low skills and small financial inputs. The street vendors sells many goods, such as food items, vegetables, clothes, fruits, seasonal items etc. who have no other channels of marketing the products that they produce. They also ensure the availability of goods and services at cheaper rates to people.

However, they are rarely treated with the same measure of dignity and tolerance as other permanently settled vendors. They are constantly harassed by the authorities. They are targeted by municipalities and police in the urban areas as illegal traders, the urban middle class complains that these vendors make urban life a living hell as they block pavements, create traffic problem and also engage in anti-social activities.

For most street vendors, trading from the road site and pavements is full of uncertainties. Besides sudden raids by municipal staffs and police, street vendors normally have to regularly bribe the authorities in order to carry out their business on the streets. All these mean that asubstantive income from street vending is spent on greasing the palms of unscrupulous authorities or to private money lenders.

In fact in most cases street vendors have to survive in a hostile environment though they are service providers. Street vendors are often regarded as public nuisance. They are accused of depriving pedestrians of their space, causing traffic jams and having links with anti-social activities .

The lack of recognition of the role of the street vendors culminates in a multitude of problems faced by them: obtaining license, insecurity of earnings, insecurity of place of hawking, gratifying officers and musclemen, constant eviction threat, fines and harassment by traffic policemen. Street vendors have poor social protection and their working conditions on the streets expose them to a variety of safety and health issues.

On the other hand, regulation of street vendors occupying streets, pavements and other public places is an indispensable function of urban local bodies. Therefore their protection is the issue. The present paper attempts to highlight that the recognition, protection and enforcement of the rights of street vendors should not be neglected by the municipal bodies in their management of public places. It is also attempted to draw serious attention of the Imphal Municipal Corporation to protectthe rights of street vendors in Imphal area by effective implementation of the law relating to protection of street vendors.

Key words: Municipality, natural markets, street vendors, vending zone.

INTRODUCTION

A large section of street vendors in urban areas are those with low skills and who have migrated to the larger cities from rural areas or small towns in search of employment. These people take to street vending when they do not find other means of livelihood. Though the income in this business is low, the investment too is low and the people do not require special skills or training. Hence for these people, men and women, street vending is the easiest form for earning their livelihood.

These street vendors in fact build an important component in the chain of goods supply. Street vending is not only a source of self-employment to the poor in cities and towns but also a means to provide 'affordable' as well as 'convenient' services to majority of the urban population. Further these street vendors provide goods to the consumers at convenient locations or even at their doorstep.

They provide affordable options to the buyers and therefore enable a number of low income and middle income households to sustain in the urban areas. Therefore, street vendors perform a dual role in the urban economy; supporting a large number of households and providing livelihood opportunities to people. It also provides an outlet to people looking for seasonal employment as well as an impetus to the business of small scale or home-based industries.

Therefore street vending is a way for poor people to earn livelihood and make their way out of poverty. It also sustains the urban middle income and low income groups by making available to them affordable goods and services at convenient locations.

Overwhelming majority of street vendors in Manipur, particularly in Imphal are women withsmall percentage of male hawkers mostly from outside the state (Bihar, Assam and West Bengal). They sell a variety of goods such as fish, vegetables, handloom and handicraft products, garments, bread and confectionery, plastic goods, books, newspapers and magazines, fruits, rice, seeds, other home-based manufactured items etc.

MANAGING PUBLIC SPACES IN URBAN MUNICIPAL AREA

The Manipur Town Planning and Country Planning Act, 1975 provides that in residential area there should be provisions for 4 to 6 shops and 10 hawkers per 1,000 people. The Manipur Municipalities Act,1994 also empowers the Imphal Municipal Corporation to manage public places, regulate markets, trading and commercial activities in Imphal area. Other laws like the Police Act, the Motor Vehicles Act, the Criminal Procedure Code, etc, are enforced to protect and regulate public spaces and allow free flow of traffic on the roads.

Hawkers become the main victims of these laws because they are viewed as the main obstructers and encroachers. What the municipal authorities and the police overlook are that there could be many other forms of encroachment, besides hawkers. The rapid increase of vehicles on the roads creates problems not only of traffic congestion but also of parking space. Several shops encroach on the pavements by illegally extending their construction.

Such encroachments are often tolerated by the municipal authorities and the city police.Despite the fact that hawkers perform an important role in urban life their importance is considerably undermined by the municipal administration. There are sections of the public who feel that hawkers encroach on spaces meant for civic use, and others simply consider them as eyesores.

The shop keepers in the market feel that their businesses are affected by these street vendors. Even those, who may be buying goods from these street vendors, would like for them to be more obscure. Street vendors are viewed as a problem that has to be controlled rather than as production units that contribute to the urban economy. They are often viewed as a nuisance or obstruction to other commerce and the free flow of traffic.

Since they typically lack legal status and recognition, they frequently experience harassment and evictions from their selling place by local authorities or competing shopkeepers. City administrators continue to regard hawking as illegal and hence hawkers are under constant threats of eviction and victimisation.

At the same time we can see that hawkers cannot be removed not merely because a large number of people are dependent on street vending for their livelihood, but also because the common urban dweller benefits from their services. It is true that hawkers do create problems for pedestrians and commuters. However the solution lies not in banning or curbing hawking but in regulating this vocation. This can only be done when the municipal authorities stop treating hawkers as anti-social elements.

LEGAL STATUS OF STREET VENDORS

The controversy whether any right per se vests in street vendors to carry out their vocation in order to earn a livelihood has been well settled in a catena of cases by the Supreme Court of India. In 1985, for the first time, in the case of Bombay Hawkers' Union vs. Bombay Municipal Corporation and Ors.,[1985(3)SCC528], the SupremeCourt upheld the right to livelihood of the street vendors and went on to observe that unreasonable restrictions and conditions cannot be imposed on street vendors.

There are no legal reasons for preventing hawking. Later in 1989, the Supreme Court gave another landmarkjudgment regarding this issue in the case of Sodhan Singh vs. NDMC, [1989(4)SCC 155]. The Apex Court ruled that every individual has the right to earn a livelihood as a fundamental right. Hawking is thus a fundamental right provided it does not infringe on the rights of others. The Court directed all state governments to evolve regulations for hawking through zones.

In Gainda Ram vs. MCD,[2010(10)SCC715], the court observed: "the fundamental right of the hawkers, just because they are poor and unorganized, cannot be left in a state of limbo nor can it left to be decided by the varying standards of a scheme which changes from time to time under the orders of the Court".

It can be safely stated that the street vendors too have fundamental right to earn their livelihood and their goods cannot be confiscated or destroyed arbitrarily by the police or municipal authorities. The municipal authorities are required to follow the requirement of natural justice i.e., right to notice and hearing before eviction or relocation of street vendors and confiscating their goods.

THE STREET VENDORS (PROTECTION OF LIVELIHOOD AND REGULATION OF STREET VENDING) ACT, 2014

The new legislation is enacted to protect the rights of urban street vendors and to regulate street vending activities based on various Supreme Court and high court judgments and the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors 2009. The important features of the Act are as follows:

a. NATURAL MARKETS

According to Section 2(e) "natural market" means a market where sellers and buyers have traditionally congregated for the sale and purchase of products or services and has been determined as such by the local authority on the recommendations of the Town Vending Committee. It is a well-recognized concept that markets tend to grow around certain areas depending on factors like customer preferences, economicstatus of the inhabitants etc. It is pertinent that regard be given to these natural markets and that in order to regularize the street vending activities these vendors are not randomly relocated.

b. TOWN VENDING COMMITTEE

A new body to manage, regulate and control street vendors is created by the law. Section 22(1) mandates the appropriate Government may, by rules made in this behalf, provide for the term and the manner of constituting a Town Vending Committee in each local authority.

Sub-section (2) provides that each Town Vending Committee shall consist of:
(a) Municipal Commissioner or Chief Executive Officer, as the case may be, who shall be the Chairperson; and
(b) such number of other members as may be prescribed, to be nominated by the appropriate Government, representing the local authority, medical officer of the local authority, the planning authority, traffic police, police, association of street vendors, market associations, traders associations, non-governmental organisations, community based organisations, resident welfare associations, banks and such other interests as it deems proper;
(c) the number of members nominated to represent the non-governmental organisations and the community based organisations shall not be less than ten per cent.;
(d) the number of members representing the street vendors shall not be less than forty per cent. who shall be elected by the street vendors themselves in such manner as may be prescribed:
Provided that one-third of members representing the street vendors shall be from amongst women vendors:
Provided further that due representation shall be given to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, minorities and persons with disabilities from amongst the members representing street vendors.

To be continued....


* N. Brajakanta Singh wrote this paper which was published at Imphal Times
The writer is a Guest Lecturer in Department of Law at Manipur University.
This article was webcasted on January 06 2019.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Purnima Ngangom (Printmaker) :: Profile
  • CAB Protest [11 Jan] #3 : Gallery
  • Poetry Of Manipuri Women Authors #2
  • CAB & scoring 21 out of 25 ?
  • Complications :: Poem
  • North East Business Summit at Delhi
  • Almond oil is the ultimate skin care
  • The Bill that haunt the government
  • Over 50 police personnel chargesheeted
  • Insurgency related incidents in NE states
  • Myanmar border fence going nowhere
  • Protest against CAB [Jan 15] #1: Gallery
  • CChongkhong, Apanthou :: eMing
  • Crop diseases & organic way of managing
  • War and Poetry :: Poem
  • Landeng-Pena yakaiduna Poster Campaign
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Condemns communal nature of CAB 2016
  • PCC, Arunachal Pradesh on CAB, 2016
  • CAB and other issues before LS polls
  • Sit-In against CAB [Jan 14] : Gallery
  • CAB : Our Identity & Culture is at stake
  • Re-Imagining the Naga Peace Process
  • Demand for ILP :: Articles/Photos...
  • Northeast Startup Summit 2019
  • Ponder them to live like human beings
  • No Shield for Manipur against CAB
  • Missing link: NE, CAB & obscure assurance
  • JCILPS Protest against CAB : Gallery
  • AMUCO Rally against CAB : Gallery
  • Poetic Justice - II :: Poem
  • Makar Sankranti Musing
  • Biren should release Kishorchandra
  • New archaeological site in Senapati
  • A Christian perspective on solidarity #1
  • New craft gallery to promote NE products
  • Rights body warns Nagas on Article 371 (A)
  • NE Black Day against CAB : Gallery
  • CAB Protest [11 Jan] #2 : Gallery
  • Narendra Modi @ Imphal #2: Gallery
  • Myanmar-India Business Summit, Sagaing
  • Cry of a Dying River - 61 :: Poem
  • Preventing the Dengue threat
  • NPF on Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016
  • Nagaland Chief Minister On CAB 2016
  • Hijacking by pseudoscience
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Mr. CM, you can't fool people on CAB
  • CAB 2016: Adoption of foreign citizens
  • CAB Protest [11 Jan] #1 : Gallery
  • CAB & question of India's North East
  • Poetry Of Manipuri Women Authors #1
  • Local actions for #GlobalGoals
  • Know your HIV status
  • Pope Francis - the last Pope!
  • CAB is unsecular discriminatory bill
  • When Govt. disregard Constitutions...
  • Citizenship Bill: An exceptional exception
  • The Walking Lady : A Short Story
  • 4th Convocation Ceremony of CAU
  • The Voice of Silence :: Poem
  • Against CAB 2016 : 6 Student Bodies
  • Need for a separate time zone
  • BOOM MMA : 'Manipur Top Team' members
  • Against Citizenship Bill Act 2016
  • Lt Gen Rajeev Sirohi at Spear Corps
  • Is the middle man responsible
  • Economically weak at Rs 8 lakh per annum ?
  • Umanglai Haraoba: Traditional Institution
  • Strike against CAB : Gallery
  • People - animal conflict
  • Fine on relieving in public
  • Flawed/divisive Citizenship Bill dangerous
  • Broken :: Poem
  • Meetei gi mayokta leiba Political party..
  • NE uniting under shutdown call : CAB
  • Trains in NE to get 'glass-top' coaches
  • Yubi Lakpi #2 : Gallery
  • Freedom's fault lines
  • Traditional Manipuri Curries
  • Governance in Multi-Ethnic States
  • Understanding animal welfare
  • Unite against corruption for development
  • Manipurgi Maraibk Kari Oihougani
  • On restoring of director of CBI
  • Citizenship Bill : scourge for NE
  • Feel good factor from UNC
  • New Year picnic at Sekmai #2: Gallery
  • A tale of two falcons
  • Artificial Insemination in livestock
  • The Naked Truth :: Poem
  • My itinerary visit to Veeranapalya
  • Test for Free Coaching for IIT/AIIMS
  • Critique of Transgender Persons Bill
  • Press Rejoinder from NPF [7 Jan]
  • Nagaland Cabinet on Citizenship Bill
  • Can we expect something from govt
  • Mova Cave, Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Sumo Wrestling #2 :: Gallery
  • Maipaksana RK: Entrepreneurship Award
  • Poetic Justice - I
  • IIT-G Technology Incubation Centre
  • Sana Chahi Ahum & 1857 revolt #2
  • Economics of climate change & growth
  • Singhat Students tour to Delhi & Agra
  • Congress against Modi on Rafale Deal
  • Press Club celebrates foundation day
  • NSF to impose 11-hr bandh on Jan 8
  • 518 drug traffickers arrested in 2018
  • Gangmumei Kamei Memorial lecture
  • Taking the Street Vendor seriously #1
  • WWII museums in Japan: Gallery
  • Schedule : HSLC Examination 2019
  • Schedule : Class XI Examination 2019
  • Schedule : HSE Examination 2019
  • Caste System in Contemporary India: Book
  • Save energy and save your skin
  • Benefits of henna for beauty
  • Coronary In-stent obstruction treated
  • A take on PM visit to Imphal
  • No over the top promises, assurances
  • Narendra Modi @ Imphal #1: Gallery
  • Management of commercial broiler farming
  • 61st CC Meet Football Tournament 2019
  • Noise Ruins & Blights Lives
  • Social media & freedom of speech
  • Cry of a Dying River - 60 :: Poem
  • Declare war against air pollution
  • Winter relief at Thanga
  • Of monologues and conveniences
  • Raising posers before PM's arrival: Cong
  • Irengbam Bedamani :: eRang Photos
  • Poireiton Chakhao at Loktak Lake
  • Hojang :: Poem
  • New Year: Challenges & opportunities
  • One Rank One Pension Paper (OROP)
  • Fasting before diagnostic tests
  • Open Mic. event at Agartala
  • Happy New Year '2019' :: NPF
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Respecting life & the trust deficit
  • Need to look beyond New Year-2019
  • New Year picnic at Sekmai #1: Gallery
  • May the Year 2019 bring integrity of Manipur
  • Sangai Fest: Evening Prog #2: Gallery
  • What I learned from Kishorchandra detention
  • Charlie, the angel :: Story
  • Against NSA to Kishorchandra Wangkhem
  • Quality New Year
  • Reminder to PM on Pravish Chanam death
  • What is there to be happy on New Year
  • Nupi Lal Ningsing Lamjel #4: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Village Authority in Hill Areas of Manipur #2
  • Sana Chahi Ahum & 1857 revolt #1
  • Local leaders commit to #endTobacco
  • Transformation of China in last 40 years
  • Boys Hostel for Pangal Students
  • From the diary of an insomniac - II
  • From nomenclature conflict of oral tradition
  • Gearing up for Parliamentary polls
  • Dimapur Meetei Council donates
  • Bye Bye 2018 !!! : Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2019 : Download
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2018 #6: Gallery
  • Unforgettable Revolutionary NK Sanajaoba
  • Life's pain :: Poem
  • New Year resolution of our honorables
  • Certificate distribution at Namsai, ArP
  • Indo-Myanmar Relations : Talk @ MU
  • Butchering a Pony for meat! Shameful
  • Top 5 Indie/Alternative Picks of 2018
  • Sangaithel Park @Sangai: Gallery
  • Things that change educational settings
  • Good Times around the Corner :: Poem
  • Mann Ki Baat - A Chicken Hide
  • Indira Gandhi - An ephemeral encounter
  • A view of Ukhrul Town #1: Gallery
  • January Calendar for Year 2019 :: Tools
  • National Mathematics Day & Ramanujan
  • Thougal Jagoi @Sangai: Gallery
  • Training Program at DM Community College
  • Ode to Radio Telegraphy
  • To the Muse :: Poem
  • Respecting the Freedom of Speech
  • Attending to homeless lady : Humane
  • Wildlife return after 50 years
  • Snowfall @Tamei, Tamenglong : Gallery
  • China spreads across Indochina Peninsula
  • Ningol Chakkouba Shopping a#2: Gallery
  • Cry of a Dying River - 59 :: Poem
  • Match words with actions to #endTB
  • Hacking : Base of all cyber crimes
  • Illegal adoptions in hospitals
  • Controlling the school transporters
  • Detention under NSA : Stand of MUSU
  • Xmas: Churches @Lamphel : Gallery
  • 27th Imphal Book Fair #2 : Gallery
  • The Crying Call of Motherland :: Poem
  • Jobs at C-DAC: International centre posting
  • Bye-Bye Congress Grass: Biological Mgmt
  • How to prevent your kajal / eye make up
  • Jobs at Manitech Consultancy, Imphal
  • Of politicians & their electoral politics
  • AFSPA: Politico-legal sanction for impunity?
  • Kwatha Festival #3 : Gallery
  • 12th Manipur Polo Intl #2 : Gallery
  • Oinam Dilip : Rising Star Award 2018, Delhi
  • Harvard Leadership Program at Don Bosco
  • Manipur Fest 2019 in Bengaluru
  • Christmas @Churachandpur : Gallery
  • UN Rapporteur briefed on Kishorechand
  • Nupi Lal Ningsing Lamjel #3: Gallery
  • Irengbam Bedamani - Actress :: eRang
  • Communities @ Barak Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Khumanthem Prakash : Akademi Award
  • List of Restricted Holidays for 2019
  • List of Public Holidays for 2019
  • List of General Holidays for 2019
  • Ningol - mapam lamdam : Gallery
  • Fabrics of Bangladeshi Manipuri: Download
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS