NASVI National Day of Action for a Central Law for Street Vendors – 20th January

The StreetNet affiliate, the National Alliance of Street Vendors of India, is organising a series of activities throughout the country in order to mark the National Street Vendors’ Day on 20th January. This date was when the Government of India approved the National Policy on Street Vendors in 2004. Since then, NASVI has been campaigning for a Central Law in order to strengthen the protection provided to street vendors. 

NASVI is planning conventions, multi-stakeholder consultations, workshops and round tables, as well as public meetings, rallies and demonstrations. 

NASVI passed a major milestone in this campaign when, last year, the Government agreed in principle to introduce the Central Law in Parliament. NASVI is now seeking to ensure that the law provides the strongest protections possible for street vendors.

Streetnet International Coordinator, Pat Horn, has written to NASVI to support the national day of action.  She stated in her letter dated 15th January:

"StreetNet supports the position of NASVI that the law should be comprehensive and effective in ensuring a secure and dignified livelihood for all street vendors in India."

Pat Horn commented today "The NASVI campaign for the adoption of a Central Law in India is an integral part of the StreetNet’s New Manifesto campaign.  If the Law in India is passed, it will be a significant precedent for many other countries around the world, who are considering a review of their own legal frameworks and policies towards street vendors. We are requesting all our affiliates to send letters of support to put pressure on the Government of India to ensure the best outcomes for vendors in India- and indeed for all street vendors!"

Argentina: Vendors’ organisations negotiate successful outcomes at La Salada Market in Buenos Aires

After almost two years of careful negotiations with the local Municipality of Lomas de Zamora, almost 8000 stalls on the outskirts of  La Salada market were dismantled and moved some 500 metres away.

“This is not an eviction, it is a transfer and we have managed to negotiate work continuity and social inclusion for those affected,” explained Oscar Silva, President of SIVARA (Trade Union of Autonomous Vendors of the Republic of Argentina) and also President of StreetNet International.

The vendors will be installed in a temporary covered area while new permanent installations, which will have electricity, water and sanitation and shower facilities, are completed.

The site where Feria La Ribera market was set up some years back is right by the side of a  river, and apart from completing blocking the route for traffic during market days, was accessed by an old and rusting metal bridge which posed a serious risk.

“Without a negotiated solution, we could not have managed to carry out this transfer in a peaceful manner.  We have the police force here – but they are not armed,” commented Juan Jose Mussi, Chief of ACUMAR, the government environmental agency.

Over the last few months, the National Chamber of Commerce (CAME) has been carrying out a ferocious campaign against the new market, claiming it was an extravagant misuse of taxpayers’ money and calling for the repeal of the law which permits street vending.

“In fact, the CAME campaign has turned against them as it highlighted the problems facing street vendors.  Now we have been able to negotiate permits for 15 more new markets so that our affiliates will finally be able to work in dignity.  However, the struggle has not ended as CAME continues to call for the eradication of street vending.  We have a very busy year ahead of us!”, Oscar Silva added.

This peaceful transfer contrasts starkly with the scenes of brutal police tactics to clear the streets in La Bras market in the centre of Sao Paolo, Brazil,  a few months earlier.