Recently, a Street Vendors Act aimed at regulating the vendors and to protect their rights was passed by parliament.
However, the New Delhi high court said that the local government has failed to implement the law. An estimated 10 million vendors sell goods and services on the streets of India.
The court had ordered the state to present a policy on Tuesday in turn regulating the number of vendors. This would also help others to find new jobs.
“The sooner the street vendors get licenses; they can freely carry on their trade without harassment from the policemen or authorities. This process will regularize the street vendors, besides eliminating the middlemen and brokers who exploit the vendors,” said Anurag Shankar from the National Association of Street Vendors of India.
However, vendors claim that they have little or no hope for the act’s implementation. Most of the vendors hail from the rural areas. The declining agriculture production and occupation forces most of them to move to the Indian capital to earn their livelihoods.
Sources assert that their lives are insecure and most of them are routinely harassed for weekly bribes called ‘hafta’ in Indian parlance.
“It’s always painful to pay a weekly bribe out of my hard-earned money. We are made to act like criminals as we have to grease their palm to seek protection and carry on trade without harassment,” said Rajesh Kumar, 53, selling mobile phone accessories.
Many fear that the companies or middle-men, whose backs line up with the government, will never let the hard-earned money to reach the treasury. Till this very day, street vendors in Delhi claim to be sceptical and also unsure about the implementation of the act.