Amid Telangana din, no time for street vendor's bill in Rajya Sabha!

Street vendors from across India on indefinite hunger strike for passage of bill that promises to put an end to harassment by civic authorities, cops

shivangi-narayan

Shivangi Narayan | February 18, 2014


Low on priority for MPs but who decides that? Street vendors sell their wares at Raghubir Nagar in west Delhi.
Low on priority for MPs but who decides that? Street vendors sell their wares at Raghubir Nagar in west Delhi.

Twenty-eight street vendors from Delhi, Patna, Jabalpur, Jaipur, and Ludhiana among other parts of India are on an indefinite hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in the national capital from Monday (February 17), demanding passage of the street vendors (protection of livelihood and regulation of street vending) bill, 2012. This, they say, would end the triple harassment they face every day – from the police, civic authorities and the government.

Passed by the Lok Sabha, the bill promises to provide legal protection to street vendors to sell their wares without facing harassment. It is now languishing in the Rajya Sabha. The Telangana issue, and the subsequent uproar due to , kept the bill from being taken up for discussion on the scheduled date of February 11.

Though deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha PJ Kurien has characterised the bill as being “non-controversial”, the ongoing pandemonium in parliament has made sure that it does not get the time it deserves.

The hunger strike is being facilitated by the national association of street vendors of India (Nasvi) and self-employed women’s association (Sewa). Sewa is protesting on behalf of 1.7 million self-employed women who are part of the organisation.

Ramashankar, a street vendor from Jabalpur, said the hunger strike is their last recourse to make sure that the bill is passed by parliament in the current session. “We demand that the bill – which started as ‘street vendors policy’, 2004, and was later revised as ‘national policy on urban street vendors’, 2009 – should be passed in parliament to end harassment of street vendors,” he said.

Another street vendor, Kanchan Devi from Delhi, said she joined the strike after the police asked her to raise the bribe to Rs 5,000 that she earlier paid them every month.

Girija Vyas, minister of housing and urban poverty alleviation, and Congress MP Priya Dutt met the protestors at Jantar Mantar on Monday and asked them to repeal the strike. However, the street vendors have refused to end their agitation until the bill is passed by Rajya Sabha.

With uproar over Telangana and many other ‘high-priority’ bills pending, parliament is going to be busy till February 21 – the last day of the session. In such a scenario, passage of street vendor’s bill seems a distant dream. Along with being non-controversial, passage of the bill also does not promise any brownie points for the government. If not passed, it would have to wait till a new government takes over after the general elections, scheduled to be held in April-May.

And if that happens, street vendors will have to wait for years before they get any legal backing for their livelihood and put an end to harassment that awaits them each day on the streets.

Comments

 

Other News

How RTI could have prevented the PNB fraud

The Right to Information (RTI), used efficiently, could have helped activists and bankers expose irregularities much before they snowballed into full-fledged scams – the one at Punjab National Bank (PNB) being only the latest example. That is the argument coming from Shailesh Gandhi, f

PNB’s viability rating hit

The large-scale fraud perpetrated on Punjab National Bank has hit its rating. Fitch Ratings has placed its Viability Rating of `bb` on Rating Watch Negative (RWN). The rating firm said it will resolve the Rating Watch “once more clarity emerges on the extent of control failures and the impact on PNB`

Schools for profit

The private sector in education should not be driven by the profit motive alone. Private educational institutions are necessary, but commercialisation of education must be checked. The supreme court struck an optimal middle, allowing private schools to generate reasonable surplus for sustaining themselves

The dirt in the diamond trade

The dazzling diamond trade has been hit hard by the Nirav Modi episode, which saw the billionaire jeweller flee India just before a massive fraud amounting to Rs 11,000 crore was detected at a Punjab National Bank branch in Mumbai. But, Nirav Modi is not the only diamond tycoon who has been

PM lays foundation stone for Navi Mumbai International Airport

PM Narendra Modi on Sunday laid the foundation stone for Rs 16,700 crore Navi Mumbai International Airport. The first phase of the construction is expected to be completed by December 2019. The project is going to be implemented 21 years after it was first proposed. The airport is likely to handle 10 milli

Health groups irked by the SC order on vaccine PSUs

Health groups have expressed their disappointment with a February 12 order of the supreme court, refusing to review or recall an earlier order disposing off a case against the mala fide suspension of the vaccine public sector units (PSUs) and government’s tendency to pamper private sector with public

Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter