Street Vendors in India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PM-SVANIDHI Scheme

Mains level : Welfare of the street vendors

Recently PM distributed loans to nearly 300,000 street vendors under the PM SVANidhi scheme.

Q. Discuss how Street-vending accounts for significant non-agricultural urban informal employment in India. Also, discuss how the PM SVANidhi scheme will help street vendors.

SVANidhi scheme

  • The SVANidhi ensures a working capital loan up to Rs 10,000 for vendors and rewards digital transactions.
  • All street vendors who have been in the business on or before March 24, 2020, are eligible to avail the benefits.
  • For this scheme launched in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Centre has earmarked a stimulus package of Rs 5,000 crore for nearly 50 lakh vendors.

Street vendors in India

  • There are estimated 50-60 lakh street vendors in India, with the largest concentrations in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad.
  • Most of them are migrants who typically work for 10–12 hours every day on average. Anyone who doesn’t have a permanent shop is considered a street vendor.
  • According to government estimates, street-vending accounts for 14 per cent of the total (non-agricultural) urban informal employment in the country.
  • The sector is riddled with problems. Licence caps are unrealistic in most cities — Mumbai, for example, has a ceiling of around 15,000 licences as against an estimated 2.5 lakh vendors.
  • This means most vendors hawk their goods illegally, which makes them vulnerable to exploitation and extortion by local police and municipal authorities.


Identifying street vendors

  • The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 was enacted to regulate street vendors in public areas and protect their rights.
  • The Act defines a “street vendor” as a person engaged in vending of articles… of everyday use or offering services to the general public, in…any public place or private area, from a temporary built-up structure or by moving from place to place”.
  • The Act envisages the formation of Town Vending Committees in various districts to ensure that all street vendors identified by the government are accommodated in the vending zones subject to norms.

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