Standing Committee Report Summary
- The Standing Committee on Urban Development (Chair: Mr. Jagdambika Pal) submitted its report on the subject ‘Implementation of Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014’ on August 6, 2021. The Act provides for: (i) protection of the livelihood rights of street vendors, (ii) social security of street vendors, and (iii) regulation of street vending across India. Key observations and recommendations made by the Committee include:
- Implementation of the Act by states: The Committee noted that many provisions of the Act are yet to be implemented by several states/ union territories (UTs). The Committee recommended constituting a monitoring committee to review the progress of implementation, and share good practices for implementing the Act. It also recommended that an annual survey should be conducted on the lines of the Swachh Survekshan to award urban local bodies for effective implementation of the Act.
- Registration of street vendors: The Committee observed that identity cards and certificates of vending provide the street vendors the legal right to conduct business in a designated vending zone. It noted that identity cards and vending certificates have not been issued to all vendors. It recommended giving vendors smart cards with relevant information (such as identification and details of vending certificate), which may also be more durable compared to paper-based documents.
- Town Vending Committees (TVCs): The Act empowers state governments to constitute TVCs for: (i) identifying street vendors, (ii) issuing vending certificates, and (iii) keeping records of vendors. The Committee noted that the TVCs have not been constituted in several states, making street vendors prone to eviction. It recommended expediting formation of TVCs in such states. It stated that no eviction or relocation should be enforced without consultation with TVCs.
- Representation in TVCs: The Committee noted that 60% of a TVC is composed of official representatives nominated by the state governments. This may override genuine concerns raised by vendor representatives. Further, it noted that there is no provision in the Act to ensure inclusion of elected representatives in the TVCs. It recommended that elected representatives from local bodies, state legislatures, and the Parliament may be involved as ex-officio members, or permanent invitees, or observers. The vendor representation in the TVCs should be regularly monitored and a database of the representation should be maintained by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
- Street vending plans: The Act requires local authorities to frame street vending plans to address certain matters related to street vending. These matters include: (i) identification of vending zones, (ii) spatial plans for street vendors, and (iii) establishing measures for efficient, and cost-effective distribution of goods and services. The Committee noted that since the enactment of the Act, only 1,341 towns (31%) of 4,315 towns in states which have notified a scheme under the Act have framed plans. Nine states (including Assam, Meghalaya, and Sikkim) have not made any vending plans. Certain states like Assam have notified vending zones without formulating the vending plans.
- Integration with smart city mission: The Committee noted that many cities are being developed as smart cities or are formulating master plans without consideration of the street vendors. It recommended the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to issue guidelines for: (i) integrating the Act with developmental missions and urban planning processes, (ii) consultation with the TVCs while planning projects under the smart city mission. and (iii) ensuring representation of the vendor community in the Committee formulating the master plan of a city.
- Grievance Redressal Committees (GRCs): The Committee observed that GRCs are crucial for earning trust of vendors and ensuring transparency of processes. It noted that only nine states (including Assam, Kerala, and Punjab) have constituted GRCs. It recommended the central government to encourage constitution of GRCs through review meetings. Further, it recommended that a website or mobile application should be developed to ensure traceability, accountability, and transparency in the complaint redressal process.
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