Wednesday, Oct 05, 2022

Street Vendors' Issue To Be Presented Before Delhi Police Chief: Hardeep Singh Puri

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said that he will take up the issues of street vendors with the new Delhi Police Commissioner.

Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri

 Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri assured the Rajya Sabha on Monday that he would take up with the new Delhi Police commissioner the reported crackdown on street vendors by police and civic authorities in the national capital.

 The housing and urban affairs minister, while responding to a query during Question Hour, also said the central government has written to the chief secretaries of all states to take steps to protect the dignity and respect of street vendors, who are now being encouraged to become micro-entrepreneurs through the Pradhan Mantri SVANidhi scheme.

SVANidhi, launched in 2020, is a special micro-credit facility scheme for providing affordable loans to street vendors to resume their livelihoods that have been adversely impacted due to the Covid-19-induced lockdown. 

Aam Aadmi Party MP Narayana Das Gupta asked the minister if the Centre had given a directive to the Delhi Police commissioner on the removal of street vendors. To which, Puri said his attention was drawn to this issue. The minister added a new Delhi Police commissioner has been appointed and he would speak to him on the issue of street vendors.

 "It seems...street vendors are at the receiving end from the urban local bodies and police authorities. We are going to change (this)... Insofar as the Delhi issue is concerned...we will certainly speak," he said. 

Senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjay Arora took charge as the commissioner of Delhi Police on Monday. Highlighting the successful implementation of SVANidhi, the minister said over Rs 3,683 crore has so far been extended to 32 lakh street vendors under this scheme which was introduced at the peak of the pandemic in 2020.

 Many of these people have in fact moved from the first loan of Rs 10,000 to the second loan of Rs 20,000, he said. "A lot of women are also recipients of the loans. This is a scheme which is working exceptionally well in short term," he added. The objective of the scheme is to ensure 40-50 lakh street vendors shift from the informal economy -- where they have to borrow at an exorbitant rate for daily survival -- to a formal economy by facilitating a microloan facility of up to Rs 90,000.

 As far as the rejection of loan applications is concerned, it is not something that the Centre can monitor, he said.