The informal sector was supposed to provide the reserve labour force that fed the formal economy as it expanded. Precisely the opposite has happened. In 1961, 65 per cent of Mumbai's workforce was employed in the organised sector and the remainder in the unorganised sector; 30 years later the proportion was reversed. By 1991, 65 per cent of employment was in the unorganised sector… Bombay Metropolitan Development Authority. Draft Plan for 1995-2005, Mumbai 1997.
Livelihood & Employment issues
A large proportion of the urban population depends on 'the urban informal sector for its livelihood. This is seen from the fact that this sector constitutes upto 50% of the labour force in cities like Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. The urban informal sector comprises essentially the self employed, who can be grouped into 3 broad categories. (Which ?)
It was also found that younger, better-educated persons were continuing to become hawkers. This pattern far from being anti developmental or anti social points to a situation, where in the absence of other employment opportunities, people take to hawking.
vending is legal in villages
and towns. But in the cities it has become an illegal activity. Unless
urban planners recognise and accept the need for hawkers and vendors in
the cities of a poor country, municipal acts will continue to have
that will call vending on the roadside an 'encroachment' simply because
you do not plan for them.
Bhatt, Ila , "Do Tokri Ki Jagah: Article from Labour file Journal", Labour File, New Delhi, Nov 1998, [C.J31], /eldoc/urban_issues/uu1_M014.html
The street vendor is the smallest
player in the market
economy. This profession is the refuge of almost all those who migrate
to cities from villages. While the state is spending on poverty
its minions are preying on the informal secotr. Three views: Prof
Jha, National Institute of Urban Affairs: The vital
role of the
street vendors and the existing aberrations giving rise to corrupt
calls for a re-look at the existing planning practice and process.
planning need to come out of the existing elitist planning
Madhu Kishwar, Editor, Manushi: our government policies are designed to depress their incomes and thwart their entrepreneurial potential in the name of cleaning up the city by cleaning it of "unwanted encroachments". They are treated as legal offenders, as a "public nuisance" and frequently…Subrata Mukherjee, Mayor of Kolkata, Trinamool Congress: When one talks of industrial resurgence or an overall rejuvenation of the state, one has to keep in his mind that it cannot be done without giving the city the much needed facelift. One also has to keep in his mind that such a facelift should not come at the cost of the livelihood of a not so small section of the society.
"Allow Hawkers to Flourish?" The Economic Times, Bangalore, 03 July 2001. [C.J31.030701ET].
Some previous Campaigns
Efforts to ban sale and use of thin plastic bags: Except in four or five wards, the performance of other wards has been poor - Dy. Municipal Commissioner; Cleanliness Campaign in 87 slums change to a drive wherein 2.82 lakh citizens were caught for spitting, urinating, literring in public and fined; ALM scheme for garbage separation taken up in 650 localities. Despite this, private layouts, slums, unattended corners reek with rotting garbage. Additional labour from private contractors is requisitions. 5 lakh rupees is spent every month, awareness campaign are launched, and street wiped clean. Albeit temporarily.
Mehta, Manuja, "Civic Sense Proves a Rare Commodity", Indian Express, Mumbai, 24 November 2001. [C.J31.241101IE]
Hawking - A Right!
Article 19(l)(g) gives the Indian citizen a fundamental right to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. This right is limited only by the right of the Indian Government, to prescribe professional or technical qualifications for certain trades or professions. and right of the State to create monopolies in certain trade, business or industry in the interest of the general public. Otherwise a citizen's right to carry on a trade or profession of his choice is absolute.
Street vendors, artisans, masons,
are among the self employed people in India, As they belong to the
or unorganised sector they enjoy little or no legal benefits. They also
do not have access to finance as easily as organised industry...
Advani, Rani , " Legal Status of Street Vendors: Article from Labour File Journal", Labour File, New Delhi, Nov 1998, [C.J31], /eldoc/urban_issues/uu1_M013.html
Culture, Consumption, Middle Class and Hawkers
Groups who are outside the ambit of formal citizenship rights, manage to be heard by the state, not by arguing for the liberal rights of individuals, but by making demands based on group rights and community identity. (Partha Chatterjee).
The pheriwala is one
extraordinary class of citizen-subjects
that the developmentalist (and now liberalising) state in India
as a vulnerable category of persons. Pheriwalas are entrepreneurs..but
the condition of their survival is that they remain marginal and
What becomes controversial is not the inhuman treatment of pheriwalas
the grotesque form of modernisation. The criticism are in fact
and political: street vendors are seen as offensive, inconvenient, and
illegitimate. Attempts to impose order on city spaces are also about
value of the real estate involved. In a time of unchecked urban growth,
the pheriwala becomes a symbol of metropolitan space gone out of
As such they become the exemplary image of an unattainable disciplinary
project. A Climate of terror is instilled through demolition and
illuminating the despotic character of state power under market
Rajagopal, Arvind, "Violence of Commodity Aesthetice, Hawkers, Demolition Raids and a New Regime of Consumption", Economic and Political Weekly, 05 January 2002, [C. J31. 05JAN02EPW].
If the licence-permit raj has
been lifted for rich industrialists,
why has it not been lifted on the smallest players in capitalism? Why
the poor still in chains?
Editorial, "The Smallest Players", Business Standard, Kolkatta, 05 May 2001. [C.J31.050501BSB].
The Railways, pride of many
swadeshis, too has succumbed
to the pressures of the free market. A group of 25 vendors have filed a
petition in Delhi High Court alleging that the Railways' policy of 1992
of allowing multinationals and big Indian companies from setting up
and kiosks at the railway station is detrimental to their business
Statesman News Service, "Vendors File Petition Against MNC's Kiosks at Rly station", The Statesman, Delhi, 03 August 2001. [C.J31.030801ST].
"Belligerent hawkers have
converted the footpaths into
a virtual no-entry zone for pedestrians". "officials of the BMC defend
their lack of action. They point to the Supreme Court's recently served
contempt notices to the civic administration, asking it to temporarily
stop evicting hawkers".
Sharan, Abhishek, "Why Pavements Are Turning Into Markets", Indian Express, Mumbai, 12 December 2002. [C.J31.121202IE].
In a controversial move, the BMC
is toying with the idea
of reserving 20 per cents of open plots meant for gardens. Playgrounds
andmarkets for hawkers to sell their wares.
Times News Network, "BMC Now Plans to Hawk Open Plots", The Times of India,Mumbai, 12 December 2001. [C.J31.121201TOI].
The BMC has proposed that it be
allowed to concentrate
its efforts on removing hawkers from the non-hawking zones.
Raju Moray however says that barring the few non-hawking zones, the
are free to camp anywhere! BMC feels that … "The residents although
to patronise hawkers do not want them in front of their premises".
Misra, Anshika, "BMC Is Hell-Bent on Surrendering City to Hawkers, say Lawyers and Activists", The Time of India, Mumbai, 16 March 2002. [C.J31.160302TOI]
1998: Supreme Court directed
authorities to frame a comprehensive
scheme for hawkers and all encroachments in Bombay. Committe formed but
MARCH 2001:The Bombay High Court had directed the BMC to stop collecting fees through daily "pavtis" which enabled them to carry on their business. Vested interests benefitted. Corrupt policemen and civic staff began collecting "hafta". The BMC sought the courts to re-collect the fines as "We have reached a point where more than evicting the hawkers, we want to regulate and discipline them," a senior official said.
Times of India Civic Correspondent, "BMC will seek HC approval to collect fees from hawkers", The Times of India, Mumbai, 13 March 2001. [C.J31.130301TOI].
MAY 2001: Union Urban Development
Ministry sets up task
force to frame policy guidelines on street hawking...
MAY 2001: HIGH Court allows BMC to increase number of hawkers ( 30,000, 15000 of whom have existing licenses) in hawking zones; 1564 PCOs as Public Utility, 88, Aarey Sarita stalls, 140 andicapped stalls, 10 Jai jawan stalls etc.HC declines laxity in no hawking near railway stations onthe ground that they were there for many years, hawking within 50 metres of municipal market.
Express News Service,"Hawking zone modifications approved", Indian Express, Mumbai, 04 May 2001. [C.J31.040501IE].
SEPT 2001: The BMC's plan
envisages forming non-hawking
zones per ward after considering the intensity of vehicular and
traffic on the area's streets, and also the location of railway
and hospitals. Residents' associations are u in arms against the BMC
which, they say. Will result in hawking zones being created in
areas which dont have much traffic.
Mehta, Rajshri, "Non-Hawking Zones May Decrease in New Scheme", Indian Express, Mumbai, 24 September 2001. [C.J31.240901IE].
SEPT. 2001: Task force decides to
accept Prime Minister's
suggestion that Legitimate occupations like street hawking should be
and the scope for rent seeking and harassment by enforcement officers
be eliminated. In a concept note to the Task force, the PMO said that
is a fundamental right, that hawkers are service providers to the
economy groups and also that hawking helps reduce eye-teasing and
pollution (by reducing transportation requirements).
Khomne, Ranjit, "PM Seeks Speedy Redressal of Hawkers' Problems", The Times of India, Mumbai, 20 September 2001. [C.J31.200901TOI].
DEC 2001: The Centre has asked
the State Governments to
desist from taking any punitive action against hawkers, pavement
and rickshaw-pullers pending finalisation of a national policy to
their activities. ( This directive is following a recommendation from a
task force on street vendors).
Hindu Special Correspondent,"Centre's directive to States on hawkers", The Hindu, Madras, 01 December 2001. [C.J31.011201H].
SEPT 2002: The second National
Commission on Labour has
suggested giving legal status and licences to Hawkers.. Hawkers are
the most visible category of workers in the informal sector. Most come
from impoverished rural families. Street vending absorbs millions who
to cities as economic refugees from villages and enter the occupation
small amounts of capital. They not only create employment for
but also generate up-stream employment in agriculture and small-scale
Times News Network, "Give licences to hawkers, suggests labour panel", The Times of India, Mumbai, 21 September 2002. [C.J31.210902TOI].
OCT 2002: A Central Task force
has suggested a policy
aimed at providing support system to enable street vendors to earn a
as well as maintain the cityscape." The policy treads the fine line
safeguarding the rights of hawkers on the one hand and protecting
spaces and ensuring smooth traffic movement on the other.
Times News Network, "Task force drafts policy to regulate hawking", The Times of India, Mumbai, 01 October 2002. [C.J31.041002TOI].
Town planners proposed reserving certain areas for hawkers to sell food without disturbing them geographically and creation of food courts. The idea was to find a practical solution, which will ensure vendors earn their livelihood while citizens get their own space back.
Express News Service, "Mumbai Can Have Its Bhel and Eat it Too", Indian Express, Mumbai, 23 November 2001. [C.J31.231101IE].
There are no takers for the Dadar
Hawker's Plaza of 1160
units. A Tata Institute of Social Sciences indicates the presence of
5,000 hawkers in Dadar, raising a question mark over the viability of
plaza They are being charged Rs. 6500 per sq/ ft. (Cloth merchants
Ft). "Why should we move from our open galas to these conested areas,
we may not get customers at all?. Illegal hawkers are given space
hawkers are ignored, while new hawkers continue to come on to the
points Vijay Dalvi, President of the Wholesale Bhajipala and Phool
Deshmukh, Smita, "Dadar Plaza No Deal, Cry Hawkers', BMC Prices Itself Out Of Market", The Times of India, Mumbai, 15 May 2001. [C.J31.150501TOI].
In most indian cities the urban
poor survive by working
in the informal sector. Poverty and lack of gainful employment in rural
areas and in smaller towns drive large numbers of people to the cities
for work and livelihood. These people generally possess low skills and
lack the level of education requires for the better paid jobs in the
sector. Besides, permanent protected jobs on the organised sector are
hence even those having the requisite skills are unable to find proper
employment. For these people, work in the informal sector offers the
means for their survival.
Bhowmik, Sharit K., "National Policy for Street Vendors", Economic and Political Weekly, Mumbai, 19 April 2003. [J.19APR03EPW].
Alarmed by the proliferation of
hawkers all over the metropolis,
Citi Space, the Association for a Clean and Green Chembur and 40 other
organisations and individuals had filed a PIL (public interest
in the Bombay high court in November 1998. Following this, the HC had
the creation of hawking and no-hawking zones...
BALAKRISHNAN, S., " Move on hawking zones slammed (BMC\'s move on hawking zone ruffles feathers of civic activists)",Times of India, Mumbai,10 March 2002, [C.J31.]
The study finds that around 20%
of the hawkers covered
in Mumbai were once permanent employees of the organised sector. In
around 30% of the male hawkers covered were previously working in large
factories and in Calcutta half the street vendors covered were
workers in the formal sector. In these cities a large number of
especially textile mills and engineering industries, have closed down.
Over 65% of Mumbai's workforce is engaged in the informal sector and in
Ahmedabad and Calcutta this sector engages more than 75% of the
of the two cities. In the three cities the decline in the manufacturing
sector has led to a sharp increase in the services sector.
"Emerging Issues", 12 Nov 2003, [C.J31.] /docsweb/urban-issues/hawkers/haw_evict.htm http://www.nasvi.net/issues.php
The Supreme Court of India
directed the 'Municipality
to construct a multi-storied market to accommodate all these
and provide at least 2 large lifts for them to carry their agricultural
produce. For diverse reasons the judgment has not been implemented in
"LEGAL PROVISIONS", 11 Nov 2003, [C.J31.] /docsweb/urban-issues/hawkers/hawker11.htm
While comparing the income of the
different groups with
the purchases from hawkers we find that the proportion of the income
in making purchases from hawkers is definitely higher as the income
decreases from the fair price(ration) shops, the poor buy all their
"Perception of Customers", 11 Nov 2003, [C.J31.] /docsweb/urban-issues/hawkers/hawkers10.htm
is the populace against the
idea of too many vendors on the roads? One popular myth is that all the
existing vendors, and those coming into business, will cause a lot of
problem trying to accommodate within the space limits. Nevertheless a
in IIT, Delhi has studied and found that all vendors can be
provided the city authority is efficient and rational. So whose
is that, the poor vendors or the authorities?
Also, many deem that vendors are a source of leakage to any neighbourhood news such as a vacant house etc., but according to road safety expert Dinesh Mohan, street vendors bring safety and security to the neighbourhoods. Wherever clusters of open shops on pavements are settled, the crime rate is low.
"Street Vendors: Exploitation by the State",11 Nov 2003, [C.J31.] /docsweb/urban-issues/hawkers/streetvendors.html
The point here is to show that
the distinction between
the formal, informal and illegal sectors may never be
Does this make our project (or any project involving the informal
indefensible, as some have suggested (e.g. Peattie 1989)? We don't
this is true. In fact, we believe that the very fluidity of the notion
of the informal sector is what makes it such a fascinating--and in a
sense "post-modern"-- field of study: it defies the simplistic
process and throws all definitions into doubt. In other words, it
out that the distinction between "appropriate" and "inappropriate"
behavior is not a matter of laws or rules, but of definition, motives
power. The distinction is above all not one of legality (which is a
formal category), but the ability of competing interest groups to
and enforce their own perceptions of legality. In this case,
often appears in the gray area between the imposition of laws
favoring large businesses and well-organized unions) and the lack
enforcement of those laws due to a combination of the inability of the
state to do so and the ability of the poor and relatively
to thwart enforcement.
Street vending thus came under savage attack throughout the modernist era. While one of the criticisms lodged against this activity was its purported inefficiency, the real problem was it was too competitive with formal retail outlets, unless they were located in optimal "modern" areas. Since supermarkets could not put street vendors out of business through market mechanisms, they had to use the police system to do it. The solution, therefore, was to ban or over-regulate street vendors while at the same time redesigning urban spaces in which they could no longer exist. Suburban subdivisions, urban decay, and urban renewal projects were all a vigorous part of this process in the First World. In the Third World, the same processes were obviously put in place, but with varying success due to the lack of modernist penetration of society and the increased power of those in the informal economy themselves to evade or resist the modernist encroachment on their livelihoods.
"Street Vendors, Modernity and Postmodernity:Conflict and Compromise in the Global", 11 Nov 2003, [C.J31.]
But while clearing the streets he
is also destroying a
section of the economy with an annual turnover of Rs.1,590 crores. If
and regulated, annually this sector could earn the deficit-strapped
corporation a revenue of Rs.146 crores. Yet, justifying the demolition
drive, Rokde adds: "We are not taking action against small hawkers.
those occupying prime space and those who have encroached on public
and run businesses with large turnovers will be removed..."
In Mumbai, around 20 per cent of the hawkers are those who have been retrenched from mills or other industries, said Dr. Sharit Bhowmick, head of Bombay University's Sociology Department. They have been forced into the city's unorganised sector, which comprises 65 per cent of the workforce. Hawkers serve a large section of Mumbai's population - selling everything from food to books and clothes. "Where else can I grab a bite on my way back home? It's so cheap and convenient. Please ask them to put back the chai shop, the vada pau and Chinese food stall outside my office. They have the best food. They are not blocking the roads, the street is bare without them," said an office secretary in south Mumbai's commercial area.
BUNSHA, Dionne, "Targeting hawkers", Frontline, Madras 01 Feb 2002, [C.J31.]/eldoc/j31_/01feb02frn1.html
The Supreme Court in its order
dated July 3, 1985 approved
a composite scheme prepared by the Municipal Commissioner and directed
the BMC to frame it ``as far as possible'' before 31.10.1985. The
of the Scheme as approved by the Supreme Court in the `Bombay Hawkers
case are as follows:
Hawkers should do their hawking business only on an area of 1Mt. x 1 Mt. on the footpath wherever it exists or on the extreme sides of the carriage way, in such a manner that the vehicular and pedestrian traffic is not obstructed and access to shops and residences is not blocked...
Hawkers should not put up any stall or place any table, stand or such other thing or erect any type of structure on the pitch on which they are conducting their business nor should they hawk on handcarts...
Hawkers should not hawk within 100 metres of any place of worship, educational institution or
general hospital and within 150 metres of any Municipal or othermarket...
Hawkers should do their business only between 7 am and 10 pm on the day on which the
prescribed daily fee is recovered...
The daily fee charged will not confer upon the hawker the right to do his business at any particular place...
One only has to take a look around Mumbai City to realise that the BMC took the Supreme Court for a royal ride. Instead of getting rid of hawkers who obstruct footpaths, the BMC has got rid of the footpaths.
Moray, Raju Z, "Trampling over Footpaths",[C.J31.] /eldoc/j31_/hawkers2.htm http://www.expressindia.com/ie/daily/19980919/26251004.html
Since the adoption of the
so-called `New Economic Policies’,
there has been massive closure of major and small industries. Several
of workers who have become unemployed have opted for self-employment.
self-employment groups such as autorickshaw or taxi drivers, are at
point and most have joined the hawking trade...
The leftist government of west Bengal launched what is known as Operation Sunshine through which they removed several thousand hawkers from the streets of Kolkatta forcibly. Later on this was followed in all other mega cities of India.
Kapile, Suresh, " Bombay Hawkers Association’s message:hawkers are not a ‘nuisance’", [C.J31.] /eldoc/j31_/hawkers3.htm http://www.streetnet.org.za/english/bombay1.htm
The Bombay High Court has set
apart only 131 hawking zone
roads. The zone roads can accommodate only around 17,000
says Chatterjee, adding, "The municipal administration in its
given to the Supreme Court has stated that the stress should
implementing non-hawking zones in phases (46 roads to start with) and
making adequate space available for accommodating the number of hawkers
held eligible as per TISS-Yuva"...
Apparently, Mumbai can fit in at best one lakh hawkers or the revised list of 75,000 while the hawker population is estimated by Pocker and experts at around three lakh.
Devarajan, P., " What\'s Mumbai without its hawkers?", [C.J31.] /eldoc/j31_/hawkers4.htm
provides contrasts as far
as female hawkers are concerned. The women squatting on thepavements in
the working class area of Central Mumbai have started hawking after the
closure of the textile mills in that area. Their husbands had worked as
permanent workers in the textile mills and are now unemployed for the
several years. These women provide for most of the expenses for the
through their meagre incomes, as they are the main earners...
By and large, trade unions have not been very effective in protecting the rights of street vendors. For example, the unions were helpless when the mass eviction drive took place. However one cannot hold unions solely responsible. The bureaucracy in the city has represented the interests of the affluent.The newspapers too have only played up the negative aspects of street vending. The elected representatives, namely, the Municipal Cooperators, have little say in running the city. The eviction of hawkers has drawn protests from a section of cooperators but these seemed to have been brushed aside by the bureaucrats.
"Mumbai", [C.J31.] eldoc/j31_/hawkers7.htm http://www.nasvi.net/mumbai.php
on Street vendors", [C.J31.]
The study looked at the problem
of hawkers in the cities
of Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Patna, Imphal, Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar and
Imphal. He found that among the cities only two, Bhubaneshwar and
had made provisions for street vendors by including them in their
Imphal is the only city that has rules for street vending. In residential areas it provides for four to six shops and ten hawkers per 1 000 people. In Imphal, the traders are exclusively women who have won a hard three-year battle for the right to trade. The women have a hard life, starting work at 4.30am and returning home in the evening. As the market cannot afford electricity, they have to use kerosene lamps.
"INDIA - ‘Don’t see hawkers as a menace’ - Seven City Report", [C.J31.] /eldoc/j31_/hawkers5.htm
member of the national task force
on street vendors, Sharit Bhowmik, said the city of Mumbai
for committing atrocities. Instead of fining vendors for street
the authorities confiscated stalls and goods without warning or any
about the damage or destruction.
"INDIA - Government message to Mumbai: Stop demolition and punishment", [C.J31.] /eldoc/j31_/hawkers6.htm
• Bombay Hawkers Union says there are over two lakh hawkers in Mumbai
• A TISS/ YUVA survey puts the hawker population at one lakh.
• The BMC says it is around 75,000
• The TISS survey says unlicenced hawkers pay hafta to the tune of Rs 324 crore
• Hawking zones in city — 131
• What the hawkers want — 280 more hawking zones.
• What the BMC has agreed to — 105 additional hawking zones
Thomas, Shibu, " Mumbai to have 8,000 more hawkers soon", [C.J31.] /eldoc/j31_/mum_hw.htm
in Mumbai finally have a
platform of their own to air their grievances, if only in print. V N
of the Mumbai Hawkers' Union plans to start a four-page fortnightly in
three languages - Hindi, Marathi and English. The magazine will focus
on civic and other problems faced by hawkers in Mumbai
"Hawkers\' woes find voice in print", [CJ31.] /eldoc/j31_/mum_haw.htm
Mitra, Subhashis, "Role of Urban Informal Sector in Economic Growth", http://www.shilpabichitra.com/shilpa2002/ent047.html
APRIL 2001: Three years after Supreme Court's direction for a comprehensive scheme for hawkers , a three-member committee, set up following a Supreme Court order to address the question of rehabilitation of hawkers in the city, will identify hawking and non-hawking zones.
Bhattacharya, Saptarshi , "Panel to identify hawking zones", The Hindu, Madras, 20 April 2001, [C.J31.200400H].
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