Taking the Street Vendor seriously
- Part 2 -

N. Brajakanta Singh *

 Thanga Keithel (Market)  :: 10th February 2018
Thanga Keithel (Market) as seen in February 2018 :: Pix - Lamdamba Oinam

[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)]


Section 2(n) defines "vending zone" and it means an area or a place or a location designated as such by the local authority, on the recommendations of the Town Vending Committee, for the specific use by street vendors for street vending and includes footpath, side walk, pavement, embankment, portions of a street, waiting area for public or any such place considered suitable for vending activities and providing services to the general public.


Section 3(1) provides that the Town Vending Committee shall, within such period and in such manner as may be specified in the scheme, conduct a survey of all existing street vendors, within the area under its jurisdiction, and subsequent survey shall be carried out at least once in every five years.

Section 3(2) mandates that the Town Vending Committee shall ensure that all existing street vendors, identified in the survey, are accommodated in the vending zones subject to a norm conforming to two and half per cent of the population of the ward or zone or town or city, as the case may be, in accordance with the plan for street vending and the holding capacity of the vending zones.

It is provided in Section 3(3) that no street vendor shall be evicted or, as the case may be, relocated till the survey specified under sub-section (1) has been completed and the certificate of vending is issued to all street vendors.

Section 4 (1) provides that every street vendor, identified under the survey carried out under sub-section (1) of section 3, who has completed the age of fourteen years or such age as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government, shall be issued a certificate of vending by the Town Vending Committee, subject to such terms and conditions and within the period specified in the scheme including the restrictions specified in the plan for street vending:


The new law recognized certain important rights of street vendors. According to section 12(1), every street vendor shall have the right to carry on the business of street vending activities in accordance with the terms and conditions mentioned in the certificate of vending.

Section 13 provides further that every street vendor, who possesses a certificate of vending, shall, in case of his relocation under section 18, be entitled for new site or area, as the case may be, for carrying out his vending activities as may be determined by the local authority, in consultation with the Town Vending Committee.


i. No street vendor shall carry out any vending activities in no-vending zone.
ii. Every street vendor shall maintain cleanliness and public hygiene in the vending zones and the adjoining areas.
iii. Every street vendor shall maintain civic amenities and public property in the vending zone in good condition and not damage or destroy or cause any damage or destruction to the same.
iv. Every street vendor shall pay such periodic maintenance charges for the civic amenities and facilities provided in the vending zones as may be determined by the local authority.
v. Where a street vendor occupies space on a time sharing basis, he shall remove his goods and wares every day at the end of the time-sharing period allowed to him.


Section 18 (1) provides that the local authority may, on the recommendations of the Town Vending Committee, declare a zone or part of it to be a no-vending zone for any public purpose and relocate the street vendors vending in that area, in such manner as may be specified in the scheme.

Sub-section (2) empowers the local authority that it shall evict such street vendor whose certificate of vending has been cancelled under section 10 or who does not have a certificate of vending and vends without such certificate, in such manner as may be specified in the scheme. However, no street vendor shall be relocated or evicted by the local authority from the place specified in the certificate of vending unless he has been given thirty days' notice for the same in such manner as may be specified in the scheme.

As per sub-section (4) a street vendor shall be relocated or evicted by the local authority physically in such manner as may be specified in the scheme only after he had failed to vacate the place specified in the certificate of vending, after the expiry of the period specified in the notice.

Therefore, it can be seen that vendors who manage to obtain a vending certificate and are operating from a location but are being relocated under the Act can assert a temporary right which is vested in them through the certificate to vend from any site whatsoever. Therefore, this right to relocation is very important and adds some strength to the concept of property rights of street vendors.


Section 21(1) requires every local authority shall, in consultation with the planning authority and on the recommendations of the Town Vending Committee, once in every five years, prepare a plan to promote the vocation of street vendors.

Sub-section (2) mandates that the "Town Vending Committee shall ensure that all existing street vendors, identified in the survey, are accommodated in the vending zones subject to a norm conforming to two and half per cent of the population of the ward or zone or town or city, as the case may be, in accordance with the plan for street vending and the holding capacity of the vending zones."

This creates a minimum base for the number of street vendors that need to be accommodated in the area. This may form an important tool for the vendors or civil society organisations to assert street vendors' right to vend.


Despite the fact that these vendors act as an important catalyst in the economy, there has been either a lack of or no planning in this regard. The present researcher is informed by municipal staffs that constitution of Town Vending Committee is in the pipeline and vending zones will be demarcated in near future. Even if the Municipal administration claims to have formulated certain planning processes, it has failed to effectively implement the same.

The unfortunate part of the above efforts is that the problem is being looked at in a piece meal manner. A broad and holistic approach is needed to find a long lasting solution of the problem. For example, while formulating urban plans it is necessary to take into account the right of hawkers to public space.

In other words, all urban plans demarcate public spaces for specific purposes such as parks and gardens, educational institutions, hospitals etc. Hawking also needs to be included in this. Plans must take into account the idea of natural markets in urban areas. These natural markets are usually the most convenient spots for consumers. These markets need to be developed and regulated.

If designed properly, street vending has the potential to add to the effeciency of a city. Vendors should be placed where they can find business easily, and this must be achieved without impeding pedestrians, moving traffic and any other city activity.

Street vending must become a planned activity written into the urban planning and operational statutes. The Imphal Municipal Corporation need to provide space for street vendors by charging a fee for garbage collection and sweeping, besides collecting license fees which could amount to several hundred thousands of rupees annually.

This would provide additional revenue for cash strapped municipality. It is high time that the new legislation must be enforced without any delay in the state of Manipur.


* 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 29 2019.

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