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PM writes to CMs on “new deal” for Urban Street Vendors

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has written to Chief Ministers of all states, urging them to take "personal interest" to ensure that the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors 2009 was vigorously and sincerely implemented by the state governments.

The National Policy on Urban Street Vendors was formulated in 2004. The revised policy of 2009 is aimed at ensuring that urban street vendors are given due recognition at the national, state and local levels to pursue economic activity without harassment and, at the same time, locations on which such activity is to be pursued are earmarked in zoning plans.

In his letter, Dr Singh pointed out that the revised policy underscored the need for a legislative framework to enable street vendors to pursue a honest living without harassment from any quarter.

Accordingly, a. Model Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2009 has also been drafted. The revised Policy and Model Bill have already been forwarded by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation to the States/UTs, the letter said.

The Prime Minister sought the personal intervention of the Chief Ministers to implement the revised policy and, taking into acount the Model Bill, to take pro-active action to enact a legislation to enable street vendors to ply their trade without harassment.

He also urged them to take steps to restructure Master Planning laws and City/Local Area Plans to make them 'inclusive' and address the requirements of space for street vending as an important urban activity.

"Suitable spatial planning 'norms' for reservation of space for street vendors in accordance with their current population and projected growth may be devised," he said.

Dr Singh said the state governments must ensure the demarcation of "Restriction-free Vending Zones", "Restricted Vending Zones", "No-vending Zones" and "Mobile Vending Areas" in every city/town, taking into account the natural propensity of street vendors to locate in certain places at certain times in response to patterns of demand for their goods/services or the formation of "natural markets", traffic congestion and other factors in view.

He urged the Chief Ministers to also take steps for convergent delivery of various Government programmes for the benefit of street vendors such as Swarna Jayanti Shahri Rojgar Yojana, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme, Skill Development Initiative, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, National Social Assistance Programme and other welfare schemes.

"I hope you will take steps to accord a new deal to the urban street vendors as a group who need space and facilities for their legitimate activities," he added.

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