Centre for Civil Society and National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) came together to raise the demand of a legislation protecting the right of livelihood of street vendors by the Government of India. Thousands of street vendors from different parts of the country took to streets ofDelhion 18 August 2011.
Thousands of street vendors fromDelhi, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar assembled at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. They marched right up to the parliament police station where they were restrained from moving further by a large contingent of police. The agitating vendors slammed the government for sitting idle on the direction of the Supreme Court of India as well as the recommendation for central law for vendors by the National Advisory Council (NAC). Addressing the agitators NASVI national coordinator Arbind Singh said, “Government of India has enough jurisdiction to enact a strong and comprehensive central law in favour of street vendors under Entries 20, 23 and/or 24 of concurrent list of Indian Constitution. The only thing that the government has to do is to demonstrate strong moral courage and political will towards safeguarding the rights of street vendors and other sections of urban poor. Inclusive growth would remain a hoax until street vendors and other vulnerable sections are integrated in city development plans as well as urban renewal missions. When it comes to protect the fundamental right to livelihood of millions of street vendors, it starts shirking away from its responsibility by throwing ball in the court of states.”
A seven member delegation of street vendor leaders and civil society met Kumari Selja, Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, to apprise her with the problems faced by the vendors across the country and demand initiation of the process for law making. The minister also agreed in principle to the need of one central act and has asked suggestions from Ministry of Law and Justice. The delegation also drew the Minister’s attention to incidence of increasing displacement and marginalization of street vendors in different cities and asserted that the protection from displacement could only be ensured through a comprehensive central law. A 10 point Charter of Demand was placed before the minister.
Here is a video clip of the demonstration:
Here are few pictures of the demonstration: