Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Plight of Street Vendors

The above article is written by Monica Mishra.
(Also read article on Shoe shine men)
Women lady in India sitting on road under umbrella and selling VegetablesThe term vendor is roughly synonymous with peddler or costermonger. Simply the meaning of vendor “is a person who sells something on the street, either from a stall or van or with their goods laid out on the side walk.”[1] When we talk about vendors usually we think about the food vendors but actually  street vending is a vast concept which includes not  only food vendors but also different  type of hawkers who sells cloths, cosmetics , different types of toys , vegetables not only that other various domestic and commercial equipments on reasonable rates , and anyone can
afford such price especially those who are unable to spend sky-scraping amount on these  articles in shops but easily they can buy from street vendor. If we talk about the quality then there is difference but not much.

INTERVIEW OF VADAPAV WALA IN NALASOPARA (survey is based on personal interview):-
Vadapav wala in Nalasopara, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Mumbai
Vadapav wala in Nalasopara, Mumbai

1)   [3] Nalasopara is a small station in Mumbai in western railway line where I stay. Approx 75 Vadapav stalls are available in west area and more than that number in east. Casually Vadapav is called as the “Jaan” of Mumbai people because many people who commutes on regular basis by train used to eat Vadapav only and the one most important reason is cost which is extremely less than other street food panipuri, Chinese Bhell , Dabeli , south Indian Dosa stall. In Nalasopara the cost of vadapav is 7rupees per. But in suburban area of Mumbai it is 10 or 15 rupees. Now I would like to move with my interviews which I took from different street vendors in my area they are:-
·      Me:   hello, sorry but I would like to take your an interview may I?
Pravin Ghadi (VADAPAV WALA):  “panch minute chalel”, (yes you can take only for 5 minutes)
·      Me:What is your food stall’s name?
Pravin: “JAI BHOLA SAI”.
·      Me: and yours?
Pravin: Majha naav pravin ghadi. (“my name is pravin ghadi” this person is maharashtrian so I am typing his reply in English only).
·      Me: where you stay and where is your hometown?
Pravin: me ikdech rahto central park madhey. Majha gaon jalgaon ahe.( I stay here only near central park my hometown is jalgaon)
·      Me: why you sell vadapav? You are youth and u can study at this age you are only 22. Why are you not studying?
Pravin: I know I am only 23 and and I do studies too I go to college in morning and when I come back from college then I sell vadapav from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and I have to do this business because this is the only livelihood of myself through which I can afford other requirements of myself. Besides this my father he does some work and he stays in jalgaon I stay here with my younger brother. We are 5 brothers and 3 sisters so the salary is not sufficient to feed and educate them so for my studies I sell vadapav and this is not my permanent work once i will pass my graduation then I will apply for government job.
·      Me: good I am impressed by your thoughts hardly people do studies in this poor conditions so my wishes are with you one last question I would like to know about your daily income. What are your daily income, profit and expenditure?
Pravin: you are regular customer (he smiled) so you know it very well I sell more than 150 vadapav from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. katlet price is 7 and vadapav also 7 but bhajji pav is 10 RS. And expenditure is approx half of the profit.

2)      [4]The second interview of dosa wala “Anna”(murlikrishna swami)
·         Me: thank you very much for giving me your precious time. Do your work properly all the best for your graduation and your government job (I smiled). ME: hello, sorry to disturb you but I would like to take an interview of your food stall and yours. May I?
Dosa wala in Nalasopara, Mumbai
Dosa wala in Nalasopara, Mumbai

Murlikrishna shrinivas (DOSA WALA): ok thik hai. (Again this person speak Hindi or kannad so I am translating interview in English)
·         Me: What is your good name?
Murlikrishna swami: Murlikrishna swami.
·         Me: ok murlikrishna shrinivas I would like to know about your hometown and your languages you know.
Murlikrishna swami: I am 47 years old I belong from Mumbai only. I born in this city so I love this city but ma village is manglore (moodbidri). I know hindi, Marathi, kannad, tullu, English thoda thoda understand hota hai.
·         Me: you look quite old so how will you survive in your older age? Will you do the same work? And before this occupation what were you doing for your stomach?
Murlikrishna swami: I had one garment’s shop but in Mumbai floods I lost everything I invested Lacs rupees on my shop’s decoration but when this flood came everything got destroy. So I started dosa stall and I don’t feel shy also because now this stall is the only source of my livelihood besides this still I am a salesman of ready-made garments like shirts, paints etc. I sell dosa-20, idli-12, utatthapa25, medu vada15. sambhar and coconut chatni .
·         Me: so you do this work alone? What about your family?
Murlikrishna swami: no this boy (boy in the picture) work with me we do this work in morning only till 1 p.m. after this time i go to do my salesman work. And marriage (he smiled) yes i am married. But I have no child after that Mumbai flood incident my wife she went to manglore she stays there. And i also go to meet her in 3-4 months.
·         Me: This is last question I would like to ask what are your income, profit and expenditure.
Murlikrishna swami: exact amount I can’t say but approx 1-2 thousands in a day or sometimes less than that depends. (He didn’t give me proper answer)
·         Me: thank you very much for giving me your precious time.

3)      [5]Now the last interview with parimal jadhav of “ Maharsathra China Town”  :-
·         Me: hello, would like to take an interview for 5 mins only may I? (This person is also a maharasthtrian so again i am translatin the interview converstation)
Manchurian wala: but why? Ok, but please be fast (he smiled)
·         Me: wha is your good name?
Manchurian wala: my name is parimal.
·         Me: ok, parimal. So,is this the only work you do?
Parimal: yes, actually i am not litterate. I studied from marathi medium till 5 std only after that i didnt study because i was not interested in studies. Financially i don’t have any problem but i am doing this occupation because of my parents. They always forces me to do some work my father he is rickshaw driver in nalasopara.
·         Me: ok, have you ever faced any difficulty to holding this Thhela(stall)?
Parimal: actually, i am in shiv-sena (political party). I am a member of this political party so they helped me a lot to start this.
·         Me: oh! Thats good. Do you ever face BMC issue?

Parimal: honestly speaking i never faced such problem because i registred my stall’s name so i never but yes, in this area many vegetables vendor and other ice-cream Thhela(stall) people they faced such problem but no can can help them, if you have any source only then you can earn in this Mayanagri. I am a member of shivsena so no can throw me out but here many north-Indians who are new in this city suffer from this problem every day.
·         Me: ok! Thank you Mr. Parimal for giving us your worthy time.

Fashion Street Mumbai Market Place
Fashion Street, Mumbai

Fashion Street in Mumbai provides a good example of how street vending can be used to meet the demands of the market. It is a linear settlement of around 200 little shops along the Readymade garments are one of Mumbai's chief exports - and the surplus lands up at Fashion Street, a huddle of little shops on Mahatma Gandhi Road. clothes are of good quality, trendy, and probably the cheapest anywhere in the world. India is a huge supplier of garments to the international market and major department stores. This has created a local market in Bombay for any surplus inventory. Same as linking road in bandra[10] is also a very good example of street vending. Most of the clothes stalls at Fashion Street and Linking Road are licensed and are therefore legal.

·         BOOK SELLERS
 Railway station, subway of Churchgate station and outside the Andheri station hawkers sells books on the reasonable cost that is 60 Rs. Per book.  On the pavements from Churchgate to flora and next to the Mumbai university building are consider as the major area for book sellers.

 Nationwide programs marked vendors ‘day on 20th January[11] as street vendors ‘ organizations affiliated to national association of street vendors of India (NASVI)[12] held conventions, demonstration , sit in hunger strike and human chains in different cities and towns of the country demanded drafting of bill for central law for street vendors.  NASVI[13] also demanded that the proposed should be effective and comprehensive enough to ensure that the street vendors get secured and dignified livelihood the participation and inclusion of street place at a rapid pace.

Right to trade, Art. 19(1) (g)[14] gives the Indian citizen a fundamental right to practice any profession, or to carry out any occupation, trade or business. Bombay hawkers unions Vs Bombay municipal corporation 1985,[15]on 3rd July,1985, in this case the supreme court suggested that a scheme for regulating grant of license  to hawkers and creating hawking and no-hawking zones be worked out for which certain directions were given by the court.
  Social justice – the preamble of the Indian constitution states that India is a sovereign, socialist, secular democratic republic and shall secure to its citizens justice, social, economic and political and equality of status and opportunity. Directive Principles: Article 38(1) [16] directs the state to promote the welfare of the people by securing a social order in which justice – social, economic and political, shall inform all institutions of national life. The state is also directed by Article 38(2)[17] to ‘minimize the inequalities in income status, facilities and opportunities.’ Article 39(a)[18] directs the state to formulate policy to ensure that citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood. It further provides that ownership and control of material resources of the community must be distributed to serve the common good, and that the operation of the economic system must not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production. Article 41[19] specifically provides for ‘right to work’ within the limits of the economic capacity of the state.

Equality before Law- Article 14 [20] of the Constitution states that the state shall not deny to any person equal - lity before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.


With the mentioned information and data I concluded that street vending should protect by the government and government should make some bills or laws to eradicate such problem but I feel these much things also would not be sufficient to improve the conditions of vendors, so the vendors themselves should come forward to spread their rights but this revolutionary movement can succeed only with the help of “Education” I am highlighting this point Education because education is the only sharp weapon to fight against such exploitation. If vendors are aware about their rights then they would be able to fight such battle against this tyranny world. I know I m using this tyranny word which is not exist in present world but actually it does exist still the people are harassed by their supreme authority. Where is Democracy? If there is democracy then why people are not allowed to work. Is the only rich entrepreneur can do business? Only they have right which is mentioned in article 19(1) g[21] of Indian constitution. NO, I am totally disagree with this statement if there is some rights and opportunity of business  for rich entrepreneur then there should also give the same right to poor street vendors. And when this policy will implement actually then this great Nation would be able to work without prejudices. In the light of aforementioned reasons it is highly recommend that:
R1: Government should issue license to all poor street vendors on reasonable cost.
R2: Government should make some provisions to remove “HAFATA VASULI” and other illegal activities which occur highly in some streets and other public places.
R3: Awareness and minimum education should be given to illiterate vendors to carry out their work and they should given hawking zone where they can earn their livelihood. And that hawking zone should make in attractive manner which will help our nation to increase the beauty of each parts.
With the help of aforesaid survey and the basic information , rules & regulations about street vending it is concluded that street vendors play unique role in the social and other activities of the society but still they are ill-treated by the governmental authority so , the government should make some special provisions to improve the status of street vendors and their occupation and government should legalize street vending and government should give them a hawker zone where they can earn for their livelihood because in the Indian constitution it is clearly mentioned in the preamble about the liberty and liberty includes right to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.[22] So government should take appropriate decision to promote and protect the interest of street vendors, and for that government should declare some area as the ‘HAWKING ZONE’ and there they should keep some facilities so the beauty and good surroundings would be maintain. So in the end of my writing I would like to explain the great saying of ‘ALBERT EINSEIN’ which I mentioned in starting of my writing, “I have a dream to see my country as the developed country, each day I, imagine one day my country will become the most literate country of this world because now days I am seeing the desire of this great nation’s populations. One of the examples I added in my writing (pravin). My best wishes are with those who are fighting battle with their unfortunate fate and moving ahead”.
The above article is written by Monica Mishra.

Monica is pursuing her B.L.S/LL.B Degree from Government Law College, (Churchgate). She has great interest in Legal writing. Besides Legal Writing she also writes Poems on different subjects. She apires to be an I.A.S officer . She is ever ready to provide people in need with legal aid. She is also the founder of her own blog Legal Awareness.


1.       Street trade in Latin America – sally roever, dept. of public administration linden university (Netherlands) prepared for the WIEGO urban policies programmed October 6, 2006.
2.      Impact of current financial crises on the employment of street vender in the urban centre of Kathmandu valley ------ kamala raj dhungel, neelam dhungel.
3.       Urban responses to street trading: - India. Sharit R. Bhowik.
4.      Street vendors – exploitation by the state. Shailly Arora and Anena Tagore.
5.      Street vendors: - “urban problems & economic potential”. By Harlan Dimas (dept. of economics padjagaran university)
6.      Essentials safety requirements for street vendors foods: - food safety unit division of food and nutrition world health organization. WHO/FNU/fos.7.
7.      The street vendors (protection and promotion of livelihood bill 2011.)
8.      Nationwide programme mark vendors ‘day. Government must bring in draft of bill for central law for street vendors in public domain, NASVI demands law must ensure participation & inclusion of street vendors.
9.      National association of street vendors of India (NASVI) coordinator report Kolkata AGM-2010 to Delhi AGM -2011.
10.  Model street vendors (protection of livelihood and regulation of street vending) Bill-2009. Government of India ministry of housing & urban poverty alleviation.
11.  Women in informal employment: globalizing and organizing (WIEGO), 2011 law and informality.  (


[1] Oxford dictionary.
[2] Shawn basinski , director of the svp, ny times.
[3] Original image. taken at nalasopara station, Western Railway Line, Mumbai.
[4] Original image. Taken at virar station, Western Railway Line, Mumbai.
[5] Original interview. Picture is not available because of the request of parimal.
[6] Gainda ram Vs MCD dated 08.10.2010.
[7] State government dated 19.04.2005.
[8] Article provided by the roadside vendors association.
[9] Mahatma Gandhi, road, fort Bombay.
[10] Bandra west, Mumbai.
[11] NASVI celebrates vendors’ day every year since 2004. When on the day the street vendor movement had influenced the government of India to announce the national policy for urban street vendors.
[12] Nationals programs mark vendor’s day. Government must bring in draft of bill for central law for street vendors in public domain, NASVI demands law must ensure participation and inclusion of street vendors. 
[13] National association of street vendors of India
[14] Sodan Singh and ors Vs. new Delhi municipal committee and ors.:(1989)4scc 155by a constitution bench of this court.
[15] Equivalent citation: 1985 AIR 1206, 1985 SCR sup. (1)849 bench: chandrachud, Y.V.
[16] The state shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall in form all the institutions of the national life.
[17] The state shall, in particular, strive to minimize the inequalities in income, and Endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst the individual but also amongst group of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations.
[18] Directive principles of state policy-That the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood.
[19] Right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases – the state shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other case of undeserved want.
[20] The state shall not deny to any person equality before the law and equal protection of the law within the territory of India.
[21] 191  (g) to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. “nothing in sub clause (g) of the said clause shall effect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the state from making any law imposing, in the interest of the general public, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause
[22]  Fundamental right guaranteed in Indian constitution- 191(g) to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. “nothing in sub clause (g) of the said clause shall effect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the state from making any law imposing, in the interest of the general public, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause.

Keywords:China town, dosawala, hawking law, laws for street vendors, monica mishra legal awareness, Nalasopara, right to livelihood, street vendors in india, vadapav wala, right to earn, fashion street legal


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