Business & Industry

Can we think about the urban vendors for a while?

Street vending accounts for a significant portion of the informal economy in urban India. The Street Vendors Act, 2014 recognizes vending as a legal right to livelihood and aims to protect the rights of vendors as workers. However, the relationship between the spatiality of urban governance and the right to claim livelihood through law is not uniform across the country. We do need street vendors for day-to-day needs at low prices. But while they are allowed free movement in some cities, urban planning and development schemes in some cities place severe limits on their free movement in public spaces. Designated zones for vending as well as licensing appear to have increased challenges to the large and varied groups of vendors across cities. The lives and livelihood of the poor, particularly women vendors are getting affected in the process. Moreover, some urbanites enjoy negotiating prices with these vendors, although they are much lower than formal sector prices, but have no hesitation in paying higher prices for the same item in the formal sector. Can we care a bit more for the urban vendors?
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