Main Bhi Digital Drive for Street Vendors | 28 Dec 2020

Why in News

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) is going to launch ‘Main Bhi Digital (me too digital)’ drive for the street vendors to enable them to accept and make payments digitally.

Key Points

  • Main Bhi Digital Drive:
    • As part of the new drive, between 4th January to 22nd January 2021, over 10 lakh street vendors across the country who have availed of the Rs. 10,000 loan will be trained in using digital payments.
    • The vendors would be able to not just receive payments digitally but also pay for material they procure from sellers using unique QR codes.
    • The mobile phones of the vendors will be equipped with the software needed for the transactions, and training provided to them on safe and secure payments.
  • PMSVANidhi Scheme:
    • It is a scheme of the MoHUA launched in June 2020 which entitles the street vendors to Rs. 10,000 interest-free loan as working capital to restart their businesses.
    • Data shows that only 20% of the beneficiaries are digitally enabled.
  • Street Vendors in India:
    • Anyone who doesn’t have a permanent shop is considered a street vendor.
      • According to government estimates, street-vending accounts for 14% of the total (non-agricultural) urban informal employment in the country.
    • There are an estimated 50-60 lakh street vendors in India, with the largest concentrations in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad.
    • Issues:
      • Licence caps are unrealistic in most cities, for example, Mumbai has a ceiling of around 15,000 licences as against an estimated 2.5 lakh vendors.
        • This means most vendors hawk their goods illegally, which makes them vulnerable to exploitation and extortion by local police and municipal authorities.
      • Often, local bodies conduct eviction drives to clear the pavements of encroachers, and confiscate their goods. Fines for recovery are heavy.
    • Organizations for Street Vendors:
      • National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI): It is a membership based organization of 1,024 street vendors organizations representing 10,00,000 street vendors from almost all parts of India.
      • National Hawker Federation (NHF): It is an association of street vendors across 28 States in the country, with 1,188 Unions, including 11 Central Trade Unions and over 20 International Trade Unions abroad.
  • Other Initiatives for the Street Vendors:

Way Forward

  • Despite multiple schemes running for the street vendors, there are various gaps in implementation, identification, awareness and accessibility of various schemes which should be plugged in a timely manner.
  • Benefits like maternity allowances, accident relief, natural death compensation, education support for children for higher studies, pension during any crisis should be provided to them.