Shashidharchannappa Shashidharchannappa, Veena K N, V J Byra Reddy


The livelihoods of poor are determined by the setting in which they live and opportunities & constraints  present  in  that  setting.  This  is  because  the  ecological,  economic,  social  and political – conditions which largely determines the assets accessible to people, how they can use  these  (Sen,  1973a,  1998  &  Meikle,  2002)  and  thus  their  ability  to  obtain  secure livelihoods(Sen 1983d). Rural people see new opportunities in the urban areas in terms of employment, physical facilities and other opportunities; mostly because of not being able to generate  decent  living  through  incomes  from  agriculture  or  agricultural  jobs.  As  a  result, rural landless agricultural workers have little motivation to remain in agriculture. Instead, they  choose  to  migrate  to  nearby  towns  or  cities  in  search  of  more  remunerative  non- agricultural jobs. In the cities and towns that they migrate to, they end up in jobs that are more remunerative from their agricultural jobs but those that are at lowest spectrum of jobs in urban  setting mostly in the informal sector. Street vending is a big part of the informal sector so much so that the term informal sector in Bogota was attributed exclusively to street vendors.  Further,  a  large  body  of  literature  is  found  on  the  problems  of  street  vendors  in Bogota.    In  India  too,  a  large  part  of  the  informal  sector  comprises  street  vending.  An exploratory study conducted reveals that working life of both men and women street vendors outline the following characteristics of street vending; they work forexcessively long hours, under  poor  safety  and  security  conditions  at  their  workplaces,  together  with  the  illegal compensations/bribes  they  have  to  pay  the  local  authorities,  borrow  at  exorbitant  rates  of interest from money lenders etc. However, during the present study as part of the project on issues and concerns of street vendors found other problems plaguing street vendors. Among them  was  the  problem  of  them  being  cheated  by  unscrupulous  people  who  have  been collecting  money  from  the  street  vendors  purportedly  for  an  organisation‟s  membership, which has come in to existence under the policy  on street vending. Methedology:During  a study on street vendors it was found that street vendors were being abused and cheated by some group of individuals in the pretext of getting them membership of organizations that help street vendors in various forms. In order to educate them and create awareness, social work  students contacted a group of more than 50 vendors and a discussion  was held  with them  to  strategize  an  action  plan.  In  association  with  Alternative  Law  Form  –  a  NGO, interactions  with  street  vendors  were  held.  Sessions  on  their  rights  and  awareness  on available schemes generated confidence among the street vendors.A membership drive was conducted  which  resulted  in  more  than  150  vendors  applying  for  membership  in  the  local municipality and other similar positive outcomes are also being observed.  A questionnaire was  designed  and  administered  to  assess  Socio  –  Economic  conditions  of  these  vendors. Uddyam  Foundation  –  a  NGO,  was  on  boarded  for  conducting  sessions  on  Social  and Financial  management.  Results  of  the  intervention:  Enhanced  awareness  about  the  rights and government schemes, More than 150 street vendors are about to get their Identity cards and  legitimizing  their  vending,  A  platform  created  for  brainstorming  and  solving  issues similar to many, multi-dimensional approach to business. This has clearly indicated that, a social  worker  with  support  of  right  kind  of  organizations  can  play  a  significant  role  in creating awareness and educating street vendors.


Street vendors; empowerment; unorganised; informal sector

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