Category Archive : News

ACORN India: Speaking out against police misconduct during COVID lockdown

As the newest wave of COVID continues to affect communities throughout India, ACORN India members are speaking out against police misconduct, which is disproportionally affecting vulnerable communities.

ACORN India was recently featured in one of the country’s most popular newspapers. Dharmendra Kumar, of the ACORN India affiliate and nonprofit Janhapal, spoke about the circumstances of the most recent wave in India, and how it affects the most vulnerable communities.

“Our ground experience shows police target the poor, marginalized and those who cannot speak up…

As micro-containment zones are being set up and markets shut, the police are in charge on the streets. On the pretext of pandemic policing they victimize hawkers, pedestrians and the poor,”

– Telegraph India

Local police have been scrutinized for using arbitrary and heavy-handed tactics against marginalized communities under the guise of COVID violations. In one study, cases against pedestrians increased from 50 per cent in the first lockdown to 89 per cent during the third lockdown.


As the COVID crisis in India continues, ACORN India and affiliates are stepping in to help marginalized and vulnerable communities. Donate to ACORN India here, or check out the information below.

ACORN India, COVID relief in India, COVID crisis in India

ACORN India: Informal workers seek support as Delhi prepares for another lockdown

ACORN India, WPC, Working Peoples' Charter

As New Delhi prepares for another lockdown, street vendors and informal works are often the ones who pay the highest price.

Dharmendra Kumar, member of the Delhi chapter of Hawkers’ Joint Action Committee, an ACORN affiliate, recently spoke about the lack of adequate medical supplies:

This shortage is across the city and predictably the marginalised groups are the most affected. As far as street vendors are concerned, with most of them being migrants, there are not many people here whom they can approach for assistance – especially in today’s time when even the well-off groups are finding themselves helpless.

Kumar was also quoted as urging the Modi government to provide a one-time cash assistance to workers who are hardest hit by the pandemic.

To support the Hawker’s Joint Action Committee, check out the link below to donate.

What Dharavi Needs: A Garbage Policy

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Dharmendra Kumar Interview Governance Today

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Dharmendra Kumar article in National Hindi Daily on FDI in Retail.

Govt of India now claims to be the most open economy in the world for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by deciding to permit 100% FDI for trading, including through e-commerce, in respect of food products manufactured or produced in India and relaxing local sourcing norms up to three years and a relaxed sourcing regime for another five years for entities undertaking Single Brand Retail Trading of products having ‘state-of-art’ and ‘cutting edge’ technology.

article in sahara 25-6-16

Farmers, Traders, Hawkers and other affected groups oppose the budget proposal to allow 100% FDI in marketing food produced and manufactured locally

Press Statement

Farmers, Traders, Hawkers and other affected groups oppose the budget proposal to allow 100% FDI in marketing food produced and manufactured locally

Delhi, 1st March 2016—The India FDI Watch Campaign, along with the Bhartiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal (Federation of All India Traders and Industries), Federation of Associations of Maharastra, The Hawkers Federation, Janpahal and various other groups, opposed the union budget 2016-17 proposal to allow 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in marketing food produced and manufactured in India.

The groups called on the Govt. of India to adhere to its party manifesto which categorically opposed FDI in multibrand retail.

Sri Shyam Bihari Mishra, President of the Bhartiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal (BUVM), said “If the government is serious about stopping wastage of food and empowering farmers it should work on a sustainable model of distribution of food considering factors of demand and supply. It does not make logical sense to allow supermarkets which are known for wastage of food throughout their supply chain operation and squeezing farmers.”

Mohan Gurnani, President of the Federation of Association’s of Maharastra (FAM) opposed the move saying, “We know for a fact that small farmers, traders and hawkers are impacted when large corporations enter into the retail sector, the Government should be restricting their entry, but instead are allowing them in through various routes, and in the mean time appeasing the public by saying they are not in favour of FDI in multibrand retail.”

Vijay Prakash Jain, Secretary General of BUVM stated that, “the entire supply line of food, which is such an important part of this nation’s retail culture and history, stands to be threatened.”

Dharmendra Kumar, India FDI Watch, Campaign Director added, “the budgetary announcement raises concerns over livelihood, nutrition, food safety, local economies and the environment. Food loses most of their nutritional properties during heavy processing. To prolong shelf life, foods may have preservatives added to them, or they may be sealed in sterile packaging and may also be exposed to controlled amounts of heat, or in some cases radiation. Processing often radically changes the nature of the original food. Processed food ingredients tend to be nutrient-poor, meaning they are high in calories relative to the amount of vitamins, minerals and other key dietary nutrients. Many processed foods are high in added sugar, sodium, saturated fats or trans fats and contain little dietary fiber and can contribute to foodborne illness outbreaks. Case studies of other countries underline the need for development programs and public support to assist small farmers and traders’. Govt of India should not deregulate the farm and retail sectors in a rushed manner until sufficient measures are put in place that will protect livelihoods of farmers and small traders.”

Ms. Priti Maurya of Janpahal works with small farmers says,”processing plants have become larger and handle larger volumes of products, sometimes from many different sources and distribute them over a broader geographic area.Small farmers never become part of such so-called modern supply chain as processors and supermarkets look for large volumes. Small farmers would lose the local market. Food processors and supermarkets, can have considerable influence over who produces food, how it is produced and what is eaten.

Hakim Singh Rawat, General Secretary, The Hawkers Federation stated “Supermarkets too have high percentage of wastage. Wastage of non-perishable foods like grains and cereals has very low level of wastage but the Govt has allowed processors and supermarkets in all food categories in the name of reducing wastage. The policy would threaten livelihood of all street vendors depending on retailing food.”

More Pictures from the Film Crew in Bengaluru

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ACORN India Filming Hawkers Video

ACORN India recruitment video for the ACORN hawkers and street vendors union in Bengaluru being filmed right now.

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ACORN in Delhi Offers Alternatives to the “Sleep Mafia”

Check out the Chief Organizer Blog that features the work of ACORN in India for the homeless.

In addition to running our own shelters again, ACORN India also runs a rescue vehicle in Delhi.

It moves in the streets from 10 pm to 4 am and rescues homeless sleeping in open by bringing them to the nearest shelter.

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Homeless problem was featured in the New York Times on January 18th, 2016.

Street Vendors Board Demanded

Dharmendra Kumar led a delegation of street vendors leaders to the Hon’ble Minister of Labour & Employment, Govt. of NCT of Delhi demanding creation of a Street Vendors Board, Provision of social security to all existing street vendors and registration of street vendors associations as trade unions.

Meeting Hon'ble Labour Minister, Delhi


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