Atma Nirbhar’ Street Vendors: A Far-off Dream, Say Activists


It is said, better late than never. Some activists and academics, hesitantly, thought the old maxim could be applied to the Centre's micro-credit facility for street vendors – which was indisputably behindhand, in the wake of the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, announced on March 24.

But, more than a month down the line since its launch, the programme is not proving to be any beneficial either.

The majority of the eligible vendors are not able to avail the Rs. 10,000 loan, under the Pradhan Mantri Street Vendor’s Atmanirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi), their representative bodies’ have alleged, owing to an array of challenges.

These include: barriers – both, digital and language – in applying for the loans and inadequate documentation, available with vendors. Applications for the loan have to be submitted online, which further involves entering a phone number-linked Aadhaar card details.

“By making the whole process online, the vendor's capability of self-applying has been limited. This has resulted in them approaching the local cyber cafes, which are charging exorbitant amounts to do the same,” said Dharmendra Kumar of the New Delhi chapter of Hawkers’ Joint Action Committee. The body is engaged in assisting the street vendors in applying for the loan.

“Also, for many vendors, either the Aadhaar card is not linked with their phone number or their contact details [linked with the Aadhaar] have changed over the years,” he said.

It seems that the socio-economic background of the street vendors – who are predominantly migrants and relatively less educated – was not thought about before launching a scheme for them, Kumar said, adding that forms are available only in the English language, which compounds the hurdles.


Source: News Click

Writter: Ronak Chhabra