Home >politics >policy >Standing committee calls for Aadhaar card for street vendors

New Delhi: India’s more than 10 million street vendors should be registered on the basis of their Aadhaar numbers to ensure proper identification, a standing committee has recommended in its report on the Street Vendors Bill, 2012.

“The Aadhaar card may be linked towards identification of street vendors," the panel said in the report it submitted to the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, adding that municipal authorities could later undertake a comprehensive digitalized photo survey or census of existing vendors.

An official in the urban housing and poverty alleviation ministry, however, said this may not be feasible yet. “Not everyone in the country has the (Aadhaar) number and we want to be a little liberal for identification till the time everyone gets a number," the official said, requested anonymity.

The Bill is the first attempt in the country to regulate urban street hawkers and spell out their rights. It makes registration of street vendors mandatory in addition to providing a dispute redressal mechanism and preventing their harassment. The Bill also says that urban local bodies will prepare a plan to “promote a supportive environment" for street vending in cities.

The Bill was earlier taken up by Congress president Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, which sets the government’s social agenda.

The committee’s other recommendations include issuing more than one vending certificate to mobile street vendors and ensuring they carry out their “own old business" in case of relocation.

“The committee feels that the mobile vendors are most susceptible amongst the vendors. Therefore, they should be issued such a certificate/licence that categorically allows them to carry on their business freely," the panel said. It also suggested a “clear time period of one month" for issuing vending certificates to prevent procedural delays.

The committee recommended a provision within the Bill for renewing vending certificate every three years. “The committee strongly feels that in the absence of a specific provision, the local bodies may renew the certificate of vending as per their whims, which may lead to harassment of street vendors," it said.

The panel suggested including a provision for the legal heirs of street hawkers to inherit vending rights where the original registered vendor has died or faces a serious illness or permanent disability. The panel also sought to increase the notice period of eviction and relocation from a week to a month.

“The recommendations of the standing committee are satisfactory and most of our concerns have been accepted. We just hope that the United Progressive Alliance government does not further delay and ensure that the Bill gets passed in the current session itself," said Ranjit Abhigyan, programme manager at the National Association of Street Vendors of India, a collective of hawker organizations.

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