Hawkers/Street vendors are most vulnerable to forced eviction and denial of basic right to livelihood. It causes severe long-term hardship, impoverishment and other damage including loss of dignity. Therefore, no street vendor should be forcefully evicted. They would be relocated with adequate rehabilitation only where the land is needed for a public purpose of urgent need. Therefore:
a) Eviction should be avoided wherever feasible unless there is clear and urgent public need in the land in question.
b) Where relocation is absolutely necessary, notice of minimum 30 days should be served to the concerned vendors.
c) Affected vendors/ representative’s involvement in planning and implementation of the rehabilitation project.
d) Affected vendors should be assisted in their efforts to improve their livelihoods and standards of living or at least to restore them, in real terms to pre-evicted levels.
e) Loss of assets should be avoided and if possible compensated.
f) State machinery must take comprehensive measures to check and control the practice of forced evictions.
No hawker/ street vendor should be arbitrarily evicted in the name of ‘beautification’ of the cityscape. The beautification and clean up programmes undertaken by the states or towns should actively involve street vendors in a positive way as a part of the beautification programme.
Training and Skill Upgradation
Street vendors being micro enterprises should be provided with training to upgrade their technical and business skills so as to increase their income as well as to look for alternatives.
Organizing the Street Vendors
1 The Street Vendors are part of the unorganized sector. The main objective to get the street vendors to get organised is for providing the following services: · Access to group insurance for a variety of insurance products · Access to financial services
· Development of small and medium enterprise
· Vocational Training and Capacity Building for awareness as well as skill up-gradation
2 In addition, it is also important to organise them for creation of a united front for negotiation / protection of their rights. In this regard, it is required to promote organisations of street vendors’ e.g. SHGs, Co-operatives and other forms to facilitate their empowerment. The organisation should build adequate systems for managing finances/ investment to be handled by professionals.
Role of State Governments
· All State governments should ensure that institutional arrangements, legislative frameworks and other necessary actions achieve conformity with the National Policy for Street Vendors
· A comprehensive survey of street vendors to build an adequate database on street vendors particularly in large and medium cities should be undertaken by the State Governments.
From: National policy for the Urban Street Vendors/Hawkers pdf file.
Across Indian cities, the middle class appears to be rising against a group which could also be seen as innocuous, commonplace and convenient – the street hawker, or someone who vends their goods in a peripatetic manner. It could be an old woman at a street corner with a basket of vegetables or a man selling peanuts or even a more enterprising salesman who has appropriated a pavement with bamboo and plastic to sell his knockoffs of knockoffs of knockoffs. But as the middle classes have grown in India and economic prosperity has changed their mobility and their shopping habits, the hawker has become an impediment. He uses up precious space, is messy, sometimes aggressive and adds little beauty to the surroundings. As residents’ associations become more powerful, there is pressure on local municipal offices to tackle what newspapers call – with no qualms – “the hawker menace”. Here is what the Supreme Court of India had to say about the “hawker menace”: “Considering that an alarming percentage of population in our country...