- 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.
- 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