On March 14, 2016, National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), StreetNet Affiliate, held a National Workshop on Town Vending Committee (TVC) in New Delhi, India.
The objectives of the workshop were: to review progress on Street Vendors Law with special focus on provisions of Town Vending Committee, its functioning, role and status in different states as well as revitalization of the TVCs.
The workshop was inaugurated jointly by Director National Urban Livelihood Mission, Mr Avnish Mishra, ILO Senior Specialist, Mr Markus Ruck, representative of Dehradun Municipal Corporation and Vice President of NASVI Shri Bhaskar Urs.
Welcoming the participants, who were TVC member’s representatives from different cities, people from the government, civil society organizations, advocates, street vendor leaders etc.
NASVI Coordinator, Mr. Arbind Singh, briefed the objective of the workshop and pointed that there is a number of laws in the country that we do not know even the names of many of them. But the Law on “Street Vendors” 2014 is very unique as it focuses on the livelihood aspect of the vendors.
While the world clamors for people participation in governance and labour activists search for negotiation mechanisms for informal workers, India enacted a Law for Street Vendors in 2014 which mandated setting up of multi stake holder Town Vending Committee (TVC) in every city with 40% participation of street vendors 33% of which have to be women.
With its extensive efforts NASVI has been able to make a critical difference over the last few years in the living and working conditions of the street vendors.
NASVI began focusing on need to enact a law for street vendors. On 19thFebruary, 2014, the Parliament passed the Street Vendors’ Bill. The new Law is called the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 and it came into force on 1stMay, 2014.
In the above-mentioned context, NASVI organized a one day workshop with TVC representatives of street vendors of 66 cities from 20 states. The day long workshop deliberated on the issue of functioning of TVCs and come out with guidelines and concrete recommendations.
NASVI is presently focused on implementation of the Street Vendors Act across India. 8 State Governments have already prepared the scheme for implementation. NASVI is also partnering with State Governments and Municipal Bodies for implementation of the Act.
TVCs are to be headed by the Chief Executive Officers of the Municipal Bodies and with representation from all important stakeholders – Police and Owning Authority, Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs), Market Associations, Banks etc. These TVCs are empowered to recommend to the local authority any or ever action to be taken for street vendors.
Mr. Arbind underlined that the Town Vending Committee forms the heart of the Act. As against the workers involved in formal sector where they have the adequate mechanism to put their demands in front of their employer through unions, etc., the informal sector workers lacked the formal mechanism and ways to put forth their demand.
TVC provides them a platform where the street vendors could talk freely and fiercely with the policy makers. As the TVC comprises of representatives from Police dept., Traffic, Banks, Chamber of Commerce, Civil Surgeon, NGOs, vendors representatives, etc. the vendors could freely put up their problems, harassment issues, difficulty in credit linkages, creation of vending zone etc.
“This will set an example for the street vendors of whole world if we handle this body in a planned way”, – noted one of the vendor participant.
As it mandated by the Law that it is the centre piece of the legislation primarily responsible for all kinds of decisions regarding registration, suspension and cancellation of certificate of vending etc. for street vendors. It encourages citizen’s participation. It will be an example for all informal sector workers.
STREET VENDORS’ Act, 2014 – Major provisions
- The Act provides for constitution of a Town Vending Committee (TVC) in each Local Authority, which is the fulcrum of the Act, for implementing the provisions of the Act.
- In order to ensure participatory decision making for aspects relating to street vending activities, the TVC will be involved in activities like determination of natural market, identification of vending zones, preparation of street vending plan, survey of street vendors, etc.
- To avoid arbitrariness of authorities, the Act provides for a survey of all existing street vendors, and subsequent survey at-least once in every five years, and issue of certificate of vending to all the street vendors identified in the survey.
- It has been provided that no street vendor will be evicted until the survey has been completed and certificate of vending issued to the street vendors.
- All existing street vendors, identified in the survey, will be accommodated in the vending zones subject to a norm conforming to 2.5% of the population of the ward or zone or town or city.
- Those street vendors who have been issued a certificate of vending/license etc. Before the commencement of this Act, they will be deemed to be a street vendor for that category and for the period for which s/he has been issued such.
- Procedure for relocation, eviction and confiscation of goods has been specified and made street vendor friendly.
- Relocation of street vendors should be exercised last resort. Accordingly a set of principles to be followed for ‘relocation’ is provided for in the second Schedule of the Act.
- The Local authority is required to make out a plan once in every 5 years, on the recommendation of TVC, to promote a supportive environment and adequate space for urban street vendors to carry out their vocation.
- The thrust of the Act is on “natural market” which has been defined under the Act. The planning exercise has to ensure that the revision of space or area for street vending is reasonable and consistent with existing natural.
- Provision for establishment of and dispute redressed mechanism the Chairpersonship of a retired judicial with two other professionals to maintain partiality towards grievance redressed of street vendors.
- The Act specifies the time period for release seized goods, for both perishable and non-perishable goods.
- The Act provides for promotional measures to be undertaken by the Government, towards availability of credit, insurance and other welfare schemes of social security, capacity building programs, research, education and training program etc for street vendors.
- The Act provides for protection of street vendors from harassment by police and other authorities and provides for an overriding clause to ensure they carry on their business without any fear of harassment by the authorities under any other law.
- The Act specifically provides that the Rules under the Act have to be notified within one year of its commencement, and Scheme has to be notified within six months of its commencement to prevent delay in implementation.
Representatives from different states shared their experience indicating on formation of the TVCs in their states and on smoothly done surveys. One of them stressed that only because of strong organizing the Municipal Corporation is forced to listen to the vendors and has to take their suggestions positively. However, others underlined that the Law breakers are stronger than the Law abiders.
Markus Ruck, ILO representative made presentation on social security and protection. He shared his experiences from across different cities and also from different countries emphasizing that according to the ILO everybody should have the right to housing, education and health.
Mr. Markus noted that Social security floor should be monitored regularly.
The workshop concluded with a vote of thanks and a promise to follow up on the various issues raised.