Street Vendors meet the Chief Minister of Delhi

30 May, 2015: A delegation of street vendors leaders led by Dharmendra Kumar met Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister (C.M.) of NCT. of Delhi.

A range of issues were discussed during the meeting. Hon’ble CM was requested to revisit the Street Vendors (protection of Livelihood and Regulation of vending) rules, 2014 to make sure that the Town Vending Committee has representatives of street vendors democratically elected by all existing informal street vendors and not just by the already licensed ones.

The delegation welcomed the Delhi govt. notification issued on 19th Feb 2015 directing authorities not to disturb existing street vendors/hawkers. It was also requested to create framework to allow new vendors.

The delegation thanked Mr. Kejriwal for his govt. stand to not allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multibrand retail under territorial jurisdiction of Delhi. Last but not the least, the delegation presented a report to the Hon’ble CM based on a survey conducted among street vendors from across Delhi. The study finds that street vendors continue to be harassed by various authorities especially the municipality and police. According to the findings of the study, street vendors of Delhi are annually paying around Indian National Rupees (INR) 844 crores (almost 140 million US$) to personnel of municipality and police.

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Addressing Urban Poverty and Reformed Governance – National Campaign

“Addressing Urban Poverty and Reformed Governance – National Campaign” was organized on 12th February, 2014  at The Auditorium, Gandhi Peace Foundation, Delhi. PRIA and Forum of Informal Urban Poor Workers (FIUPW) jointly organized the event. FIUPW’s manifesto on Urban Poor was shared with different media houses and later  handed over to different political parties contesting for the general election 2014 in India.

Manifesto Meeting GPF 12 Feb

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ACORN’s Street Vendors’ Union Breaks Through in Bengaluru!

After a long campaign to win formal certification by under the labor laws of Karnataka, ACORN’s street vendors union was finally registered under the new law of 2014 this February as Vijaya Nagar Street Vendors Union in Bengaluru thanks to the hard work of longtime ACORN International organizer, Suresh Kadashan, over the last six-and-a-half years.   Now in March we already have local branches in 25 markets and 6000 members, largely in the North and South areas of Bengaluru, and the organizing committee of the key ten leaders working with Suresh have targeted Eastern Bengaluru as the next objective.

With 150000 street vendors in this city of almost 5 million in southern India, we have only just begun to grow, but members are celebrating our newfound strength already. New markets are seeking to join (see pictures of the organizing meetings of the 26th market with 150 more members having its organizing committee meeting!).   Another union is also in the process of being chartered under both the Food Safety Department and the Street Vendors area which will be a local of food vendors, who serve at the markets during the three main mealtimes. We have already filed here and registered for another more than 1000 members.

Not surprisingly as a union of informal workers whose only employers are our customers and whose work spaces are the streets of the city, the issues and campaigns are the kinds of grassroots efforts that are ACORN’s hallmark. The new market is organizing in order to move from where a flyover (highway interchange) is being built to space under the Metro (subway) elevated tracks, and that means actions on the city. The main City Market where there are 5000 vendors working had the union with them past midnight on Sunday to make sure that demolition of buildings around another Metro stop didn’t destroy a shed used by the vendors. An early Sunday meeting at another market pressured the police to end the goondas (goons) shakedown of 100 rupees or more every week from every vendor on the street. Recently the union filed Bengaluru’s first lawsuit in courts against the police for not guaranteeing vending space as required by the national constitution and harassing the vendors.   It’s never a dull minute with the vendors, but their organizing is paying off!

ACORN International has made a priority of organizing informal workers many places around the world and the Bengaluru breakthroughs open the door for unions of wastepickers, domestic workers, and many others.

Stay tuned for more progress from India!

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Parliament panel says FDI in retail may not benefit MSMEs

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/parliament-panel-says-fdi-in-retail-may-not-benefit-msmes-114021901190_1.html

Observing that in multi-brand retail sector may not benefit Indian MSMEs, a Parliamentary panel has asked the MSME Ministry to commission a survey to gauge the impact of earlier FDI policies on the sector.

“The Committee is of the opinion that the FDI for retail may not have beneficial impact on the MSME sector,” Committee on impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail on MSME sector said in its report.

The committee suggested the MSME Ministry to commission a survey to assess the benefits and losses of previous FDI policies on the MSME sector to ascertain if FDI policy so far has created any back-end infrastructure, imparted skills to domestic manpower or upgraded managerial skills.

Highlighting that the government has not conducted any study on the impact of FDI since 1997, the Committee said the debate in reflects lack of consensus on the impact of FDI in various emerging economies and it was inaccurate to state that discussions generally indicated support for FDI.

The central government had permitted 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retailing in September 2012, leaving its implementation to the states.

So far, only UK-based Tesco’s proposal to invest in the sector has been approved by the Centre.

The Committee is chaired by Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha K C Tyagi.

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Street Vendors Bill

The upper house of the Indian Parliament passed the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2013. The bill was already passed by the lower house on 6th Sept. 2013. The bill aims at creating a conducive atmosphere where street vendors, are able to carry out their business in a fair and transparent manner, without the fear of harassment and eviction.

Main features of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2013 are as follows:

The Provisions of the Bill are aimed at creating a conducive atmosphere where street vendors, are able to carry out their business in a fair and transparent manner, without the fear of harassment and eviction.

(i)           The Bill provides for constitution of a Town Vending Authority in each Local Authority, which is the fulcrum of the Bill, for implementing the provisions of the Bill.

(ii)         In order to ensure participatory decision making for aspects relating to street vending activities like determination of natural market, identification of vending zones, preparation of street vending plan, survey of street vendors etc. the TVC is required to have representation of officials and non-officials and street vendors, including women vendors with due representation from SC, ST, OBC, Minorities and persons with disabilities. It has been provided that 40% members of the TVC will be from amongst street vendors to be selected through election, of which one-third shall be women.

(iii)       To avoid arbitrariness of authorities, the Bill provides for a survey of all existing street vendors, and subsequent survey at-least once in every five years, and issue of certificate of vending to all the street vendors identified in the survey, with preference to SC, ST, OBC, women, persons with disabilities, minorities etc.

(iv)       All existing street vendors, identified in the survey, will be accommodated in the vending zones subject to a norm conforming to 2.5% of the population of the ward or zone or town or city.

(v)         Where the number of street vendors identified are more than the holding capacity of the vending zone, the Town Vending Committee (TVC) is required to carry out a draw of lots for issuing the certificate of vending for that vending zone and the remaining persons will be accommodated in any adjoining vending zone to avoid relocation.

(vi)       Those street vendors who have been issued a certificate of vending/license etc. before the commencement of this Act, they will be deemed to be a street vendor for that category and for the period for which he/she has been issued such certificate of vending/license.

(vii)     It has been provided that no street vendor will be evicted until the survey has been completed and certificate of vending issued to the street vendors.

(viii)   It has also been provided that in case a street vendor, to whom a certificate of vending is issued, dies or suffers from any permanent disability or is ill, one of his family member i.e. spouse or dependent child can vend in his place, till the validity of the certificate of vending.

(ix)       Thus the mechanism is to provide universal coverage, by protecting the street vendors from harassment and promoting their livelihoods.

(x)         Procedure for relocation, eviction and confiscation of goods has been specified and made street vendor friendly. It is proposed to provide for recommendation of the TVC, as a necessary condition for relocation being carried out by the local authority.

(xi)       Relocation of street vendors should be exercised as a last resort. Accordingly, a set of principles to be followed for ‘relocation’ is proposed to be provided for in the second Schedule of the Bill, which states that (i) relocation should be avoided as far as possible, unless there is clear and urgent need for the land in question; (ii) affected vendors or their representatives shall be involved in planning and implementation of the rehabilitation project; (iii) affected vendors shall be relocated so as to improve their livelihoods and standards of living or at least to restore them, in real terms to pre-evicted levels (iv) natural markets where street vendors have conducted business for over fifty years shall be declared as heritage markets, and the street vendors in such markets shall not be relocated.

(xii)     The Local authority is required to make out a plan once in every 5 years, on the recommendation of TVC, to promote a supportive environment and adequate space for urban street vendors to carry out their vocation. It specifically provides that declaration of no-vending zone shall be carried subject to the specified principles namely; any existing natural market, or an existing market as identified under the survey shall not be declared as a no-vending zone; declaration of no-vending zone shall be done in a manner which displaces the minimum percentage of street vendors; no zone will be declared as a no-vending zone till such time as the survey has not been carried out and the plan for street vending has not been formulated. Thus the Bill provides for enough safeguards to protect street vendors interests.

(xiii)   The thrust of the Bill is on “natural market”, which has been defined under the Bill. The entire planning exercise has to ensure that the provision of space or area for street vending is reasonable and consistent with existing natural markets.Thus, natural locations where there is a constant congregation of buyers and sellers will be protected under the Bill.

(xiv)   There is a provision for establishment of an independent dispute redressal mechanism under the chairmanship of retired judicial officers to maintain impartiality towards grievance redressal of street vendors.

(xv)     The Bill provides for time period for release of seized goods, for both perishable and non-perishable goods. In case of non-perishable goods, the local authority is required to release the goods within two working days and incase of perishable goods, the goods shall be released the same day, of the claim being made.

(xvi)   The Bill also provides for promotional measures to be undertaken by the Government, towards availability of credit, insurance and other welfare schemes of social security, capacity building programmes, research, education and training programme etc. for street vendors.

(xvii) Section 29 of the Bill provides for protection of street vendors from harassment by police and other authorities and provides for an overriding clause to ensure they carry on their business without the fear of harassment by the authorities under any other law.

(xviii)     The Bill specifically provides that the Rules under the Bill have to be notified within one year of its commencement, and Scheme has to be notified within six months of its commencement to prevent delay in implementation.

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Rajasthan joins Delhi in banning FDI in retail

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Rajasthan-joins-Delhi-in-banning-FDI-in-retail/articleshow/29676191.cms

Rajasthan joins Delhi in banning FDI in retail

TNN | Feb 1, 2014, 12.18AM IST

NEW DELHI/JAIPUR: There is more bad news for foreign supermarket chains looking to set up shop in India with Rajasthan joining Delhi in reversing its earlier decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail trading.

Analysts said that the move will further impact investor sentiment as it does away with stability in policy. Foreign retailers have cited the lack of unanimity among political parties as one of the key reasons to adopt a wait and watch stance before committing to investing in the country.

So far, Tesco, which has tied up with Tata Group’s Trent, is the only company to have received government go-ahead for multi-brand retail even as others such as Walmart and Carrefour have preferred to wait on the sidelines. Tesco intends to start operations in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

The newly elected BJP government in Rajasthan has communicated its decision against allowing FDI in multi brand retail to the Union commerce and industry ministry, two government officials told ToI.

Principal secretary Veenu Gupta, managing director of RIICO and in charge of the state Bureau of Investment Promotion as commissioner, confirmed that the letter was sent to the ministry on January 25. BJP has been opposed to the policy with states ruled by it, including Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, deciding against allowing FDI in multi-brand.

Hawkers Will March to parliament

Hawkers Joint Action Committee is organizing a sit in protest and march to Parliament on 5th February at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi demanding Indian Govt. reversal of FDI retail policy and the passage of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012 from the upper house of the parliament. The lower house has already passed the bill on 6th September, 2013. The bill provides for protection of livelihoods rights, social security of street vendors and regulation of urban street vending.

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Victory in Delhi

Delhi became the first Indian state to reverse the policy of allowing FDI in multibrand retail. The newly formed Delhi govt. of Aam Admi Party (AAP) has written to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) asking it to remove Delhi from the list of states which have conveyed their agreement to the policy of FDI in multibrand retail.

France based Carrefour and Germany based Metro are already operating cash & carry wholesale stores in Delhi. Rajasthan, another major state of India is likely to follow the suit.

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Workers Manifesto at Forum of Informal Urban Poor Workers

Forum of Informal Urban poor Workers (FIUPW) and PRIA jointly organized a workers assembly on 10th Oct at Constitution Club, Delhi. A workers manifesto was presented to all political parties keeping in view the forthcoming elections in Delhi.

Mr. Prashant Bhushan, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India and leader of Aam Admi Party, Mr. Dhirendra Sharma, State Secretary, CPI, Mr. Anand Sahu, leader, BJP and Mr. Anurag Saxena, Secretariat Member, CPM attended the assembly and responded to the workers manifesto. Dharmendra Kumar chaired the session.

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