By : M.S.Yatnatti: Editor and Video Journalist Bangalore : The Bruhat Bengaluru Beedhi Vyaapaari Sanghatanegala Okkoota (Federation of Street Vendor Unions of Bangalore) is a federation of Street Vendor unions in several areas of Bangalore. Our member organisations have organised unions in Vijayanagar, Gandhinagar, Shivajinagar, K.R.Market, Kamakshipalya, Aerohalli Ward No.72, Yegganahalli, Rajajinagar, Dodda Gollarahatti, 1st & 2nd Block, Nandini Layout, Nandini Layout,Ramkrishnanagar, Cholurpalya, Goragunte playa, Kamalanagar and several other areas of Bangalore. One of our member organisations, the Vijayanagar Beedhi Vyaaparigala Sanghatane is in fact the first registered Street Vendors Union in Karnataka. They have been working with vendors in different areas, making them aware of the New Street Vendors Act.Bangalore is home to 1.5lakh - 2lakh street vendors. Street Vendors do not depend on the government for a livelihood but instead work hard to make a decent living. Many of the urban poor and middle class people in Bangalore depend on Street Vendors for access to goods and services at affordable rates. Thousands of wholesalers are also dependent on street vendors for their business. thus an entire economic system is based on street vending.Street Vendors have long been considered encroachers, in spite of several judgments and policies hailing street vendors an integral part of the city and clearly mention that the right to vend on a street is a fundamental right. the latest judgement on the issue - the judgement of the Supreme court on September 9th 2013 in Maharastra Ekta Hawkers Union and ANR Versus state of Maharashtra and others clearly states that street vendors have a right to the footpath and they cannot be removed in the name of public convenience.On the March 4th 2014 the Hon'ble President gave his assent to the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihoods and Regulation)Act, 2014. This progressive act not only protects our rights but also envisages the creation of a participatory mechanism to plan, protect and regulate vending in the cities - the Town Vending Committee (TVC) . A minimum of 40% of the TVC must consist of Street Vendors themselves. One of the first activities to be done under the act is to construct a survey of all street vendors in the cities and provide them with a license to vend. The survey must be done by the TVC. However the TVC in Bangalore is not constituted since the rules for the Street Vendors Act, which guide the formation of the TVC have not yet been framed. They have demanded that the state government frame the rules as soon as possible and the Urban Development Department has assured us of action. Section 3(3) of the act states that till the above mentioned survey is complete, no Street Vendors are to be evicted. However several BBMP officials, corporators and several police officials are unaware of the act and attempt to hamper street vending. In the last few months, various agencies have attempted to disrupt vending in the Water Tank area , Vijayanagar; Kamakshipalya and other areas. However, once the federation brought the act to the notice of the officials, they then did not hamper the streetvendors.
"Street vendors constitute an integral part of our urban economy. 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 a majority of the urban population, especially the common man. Street vendors are often those who are unable to get regular jobs in the remunerative formal sector on account of their low level of education and skills. They try to solve their livelihoods issues through their own meagre financial resources and sweat equity. Given the pace of urbanization and the opportunities presented through the development of urban areas, the growth of street vendors' population is likely to have an upward trend. It is vital that these vendors are enabled to pursue their livelihoods in a congenial and harassment free atmosphere. Inclusive growth strategy adopted by the 11th and 12th Five Year Plans calls for a facilitating mechanism for street vending to aid economic growth and inclusion simultaneously.”The Karnataka high court reportedly asked BBMP to continue clearing footpath encroachments in the city while ensuring that rights of hawkers are protected. The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, shouldn't be violated, a division bench headed by Chief Justice D H Waghela reportedly had said. The bench adjourned a PIL filed by Jennifer Pinto and Priya Rao on the rights of pedestrians. The bench noted that hawkers have a legal right and it must be protected. "You (BBMP) need to get this clear. In an issue like this, there is a conflict between the right of persons to walk, the right of persons to sell and also the right of those who to buy. Any half-hearted attempt only increases corruption," the division bench reportedly told BBMP counsel. The Counsel said a scheme may be framed for hawkers at the meeting called by the urban development department Government of Karnataka. Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to regulate street vendors in public areas and protect their rights. It was introduced in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of the Parliament of India) on September 6, 2012 by then Union Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Kumari Selja .The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on 6 September 2013 and by theRajya Sabha (upper house) on 19 February 2014. The bill received the assent of the President of India on 4 March 2014. The Act came into force from 1 May 2014. The bill was drafted with the help of the National Advisory Council, chaired by Sonia Gandhi, and approved by the Union Cabinet on August 17, 2012. The key point of the draft bill were, protection legitimate street vendors from harassment by police and civic authorities, and demarcation of "vending zones" on the basis of "traditional natural markets", proper representation of vendors and women in decision making bodies, and establishment of effective grievance redressal and dispute resolution mechanism. Over the years the street vendors have organized themselves into trade unions and associations, and numerous NGO's have started working for them. The National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), based in Delhi, is a federation of 715 street vendor organizations, trade unions and non-governmental organizations (NGO's). Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to regulate street vendors in public areas and protect their rights.