Empowering Street Vendors

  • IASbaba
  • April 14, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 

Empowering Street Vendors

Benefits of Street Vendors

  • Cost benefit for Consumers: By making goods and services available at doorsteps, or at places that are conveniently accessible, street vendors reduce the transaction costs of everyday purchases for consumers. 
  • Increased Labour Hours: Street vendors also play a significant role in increasing the labour hours of these strata. 
  • Beneficial in Urban areas: Street vendors through their decentralized presene have a major role in reducing the cost of living in urban cities.
  • Brings Equity in Supply Chain: The street-vending economy also ensures equitable distribution of economic gains across its production and distribution value chains.


  • Institutionalized Neglect: With urban planners focusing on building cityscapes that are attractive for investments, street vendors experience systemic and institutionalized contempt.
  • Debt trap due to COVID-19: The pandemic exacerbated the condition of street vendors, most of whom had to exhaust their savings to survive, with many forced to enter a steep debt cycle.
  • Harassment by administration: Traditionally, street vendors have remained a neglected lot, and have been subject to harassment by police and local governments.
  • Patchy implementation of Policies: Ground level implementation of the Street Vendors Act, 2014 has remained patchy.
  • Market Failure to take care of Street Vendors: There is very little institutionalized support that street vendors could get, resulting in a market failure that needed to be addressed through government intervention.

Way Ahead

  • The PM SVANidhi scheme of the Union government, under which street vendors are provided a micro-credit facility, is designed to enable them to jump-start their commercial activity. So far, 2 million vendors have availed of this credit facility, with 40% of the beneficiaries being women.
  • Inclusion in Urban Developmental Planning: Street Vendors role needs and strengths must be factored into every aspect of urban development planning.
  • Support from Civil Society: Indian street vendors also need robust public patronage for them to achieve their full potential. Such patronage would build a strong business case for their growth and help eliminate the market failures that mark the country’s street-vending landscape.

Connecting the dots:

  • PM SVANidhi scheme

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