Street vendors federation of Bengaluru unhappy with political manifestoes

Unregistered street vendors have to pay off the police every day.

As per the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihoods and Street Vendors)Act, 2014 , BBMP has the primary responsibility of ensuring the rights of street vendors and of regulating street vending. Unfortunately, none of the political parties seem to have taken this into consideration while drafting their manifestoes. While no party talks about implementing the law, what is worse is that some parties instead talk of evicting us! Our federation has studied the manifestoes of all major parties and we bring before you an analysis of the same.  

Party

Aspects of their manifesto which talk about Street Vendors

Analysis and our response to the same

Congress (I)

No mention of Street Vendors rights or welfare of Street Vendors.  

The Congress party as part of UPA-2 was primarily responsible for the enacting of the Central Street Vendors Law in 2014. However the same Congress party in its manifesto seems to have nothing to say about bringing this law into force in the BBMP limits. Neither does the party have a single word to say about the welfare of Street Vendors.  The party has to clarify why it seems to have eclipsed street vendors from its view.

BJP

The BJP manifesto says – Shall be widening pedestrian roads where commutation is dense and relocate traders from such roads to a

more accommodative location.

The manifesto does not say anything about protecting the rights of street vendors or ensuring their welfare, but instead speaks of evicting us!

Congestion in Bangalore is because of the rise of private motor vehicles. It is unfortunate that while nothing is being done to reduce the same, street vendors who do not cause congestions are to be evicted for the same! This is anti-people and illegal. The Street Vendors law stipulated that BBMP must for a Town Vending Committee which has representatives of Street Vendors, and that this committee in consultation with Street Vendors must identify vending and non-vending zones. This promise of BJP to evict us from dense commuter areas(practically the whole of Bangalore!) goes against the law! The Justice Verma committee set up in the wake of the Delhi gang-rape recommended that Street Vending be encouraged to ensure safety of women in public spaces. The BJP seems to be doing the exact opposite! Street Vendors serve lakhs of common people in the city bu providing affordable and easy access to goods and services. The BJP does not seem to recognize that!

We demand that the BJP immediately withdraw this position of theirs and must immediately clarify as to what is its position and thoughts on street-vending and street-vendors in the city.

JD(S)

No mention of Street Vendors rights or welfare of Street Vendors.  

The JD(S) manifesto talks of creating an affordable city. The city is currently being made affordable by the services of street vendors. However, the advent of several super-markets with deep-pockets has already hurt street-vending and the impending arrive of Walmart, TESCO etc though FDI-in-Retail threatens the entire system of Street Vending. The JD(S) manifesto is completely silent on this aspect. Additionally, the JD(S) also needs to respond as to why it has nothing to say about the rights or welfare of street vendors, nor about the implementation of the law.

Lok Satta

Calls for the Implementation of the National Street Vendors Policy

While we welcome their intention, we would like to bring to the attention of the party, that post the policy, there is now a central law on street vending and that they need to work towards implementation of the same.

Civic Front

Calls for –

Welfare measures for Informal sector workers (Auto Drivers, Street Vendors)

Widening of footpaths keeping in mind the interests of Street Vendors

We welcome their promise to bring in welfare measures for street vendors. We also welcome their promise to widen footpaths keeping in mind the interests of Street Vendors. We also ask that they fight for the implementation of the Street Vendors Law.

 

It is condemnable that while some major parties have not even considered us in their manifestoes, some even call for our eviction! Bangalore has between 1-2 lakh street vendors. In this time of unemployment, street vending provides a respectable, independent livelihood to lakhs of people. The common people of Bangalore have affordable access to goods and services due to Street Vendors. Street-Vending is a much more eco-friendly way of trade than the fully air-conditioned and brightly lit super-markets and malls. Unfortunately, various political parties seem to not recognize this. Parties come to seek our votes, but do not recognize how we struggle hard everyday in the sun and rain, to make Bangalore what it is today. In their rush to make Bangalore as ‘Silicon City’ and ‘Hi-Tech City’, the parties seem to have forgotten the people who have built this city in the first place – construction workers, powrakarmikas, street vendors and lakhs of other toiling workers.

We demand that the various political parties take immediate action to ensure that our following demands are met –

  • Recognise the efforts of Street Vendors in making Bangalore livable. Ensure that evictions of Street Vendors immediately stop
  • Permission should not be granted for FDI in Retail
  • Take action to provide social security, easy access to credit and insurance and other measures as mentioned in the Street Vendors Act
  • Issue directions to police and other authorities such that they do not take any actions in violation of the street vendors act.

We hereby call upon all the street vendors of Bangalore to not vote for parties that are against us, that are against the very law of this land. We also call upon all vendors to demand from candidates the steps they will take to ensure that the Street Vendors law is implemented.

We call upon all citizens of Bangalore to vote, and to keep the following in mind while casting your vote –

  • Ask your candidate what they have done in the past 5 years, what aspects of their previous manifesto have been implemented?
  • Ask your candidates how they plan to bring into effect their current manifesto
  • Do not vote for parties that seek to divide us on the lines of caste, religion, language and gender
  • Do not vote for corrupt parties or candidates

Our duty is not just to cast our vote, but to cast our vote responsibly, to cast it after reviewing all manifestoes and promises, to cast a vote for that party and candidate who will work to protect the interests of the common people of Bangalore. We also call upon all political parties to henceforth draw up their manifestoes after taking into consideration the right and welfare of the working class, of the common people of Bangalore.

Related Articles

BJP manifesto for BBMP election 2015
JDS manifesto for BBMP election – 2015
Congress manifesto for BBMP election 2015
BBMP Elections 2015: Special coverage by Citizen Matters

About Vinay Sreenivasa 0 Articles
Vinay Sreenivasa is a Bengalur-based activist who works at Alternative Law Forum.

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