Govt plans database of street vendors to include them in social welfare schemes

The government plans to prepare a list of all those who have benefited from PMSVANidhi scheme to get an idea of their socio-economic conditions and use it to work on long-term plans to ensure their social welfare

According to a survey conducted by the National Hawkers Federation in 2015, there were over four crore hawkers in India, who on an average, used to sell products worth Rs 2,000 per day. This means the daily turnover of this informal sector was Rs 8,000 crore.

The Union government is planning to prepare a database of street vendors who benefit from its PM Street Vendors’ Atmanirbhar Nidhi (SVANidhi) microcredit programme, as part of its efforts to alleviate poverty in the country.

The SVANidhi scheme was launched in June to help all those street vendors affected by the COVID pandemic to restart their operations. Under the scheme, street vendors are eligible for microcredit of up to Rs 10,000 to run their business. 

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India is estimated to have about 50-60 lakh street vendors. So far, about 25 lakh street vendors have applied for loans under the programme, of which over 5.93 lakh have benefited. The government has disbursed over Rs 580 crore till now under the scheme. 

The government now plans to prepare a list of all those who have taken the loan to get an idea of their socio-economic conditions and use it to work on long-term plans to ensure their social welfare. The idea was first mooted by prime minister Narendra Modi himself. 

“The mapping will identify who they are, and how many are covered by which welfare schemes of the government. The plan is to form committees at the level of collectors, then ask government departments to appoint nodal officers in each city, and then bring them into all the welfare schemes they are eligible for,” a senior government official said, reported The Indian Express.

The most number of loans under the scheme have been given in Uttar Pradesh. The state has received 6.78 applications, of which 3.76 lakh have been approved and the loan has been disbursed to 2.81 lakh, The Indian Express reported. UP is followed by Madhya Pradesh, where 1.2 lakh of the 1.9 lakh vendors whose applications have been approved have got the loan. The state has received a total of 3.26 lakh applications.

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According to officials, the SVANidhi database will be used to ensure that the street vendors have permanent benefits from the government’s social welfare programmes. 

Each state has to do a survey of street vendors as per the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, and issue licences and identity papers to vend. But most states have not done the survey for many years, which means many street vendors are not on government records. The planned mapping exercise is intended to bring all genuine vendors under the government’s welfare schemes.  

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