The hustle and bustle of an Indian bazaar are one of those things that have their own charm. Lanes of shops and alleyways lined by street vendors hawking their goods is an experience that one never quite forgets. It makes for an interesting escapade for the uninitiated. While shoppers and tourists enjoy the sights and take in the atmosphere, the unseen street vendor is hardly given a second glance. NASVI is bringing ease to the daily life of these vendors.
Street vendors have had a contentious time with the law and authorities in the past concerning their livelihood. Most cities usually have certain laws which regulate how street vendors operate. However, most vendors are usually at the mercy of the police, who in an attempt to enforce laws can sometimes overstep their boundaries.
The National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) was established in 1998 to protect the livelihood rights of the Indian street vendor. It started out as a network and slowly grew, registering itself under the Societies Registration Act of 1860 in 2033. NASVI was set up to bring all of the street vendor organizations under one umbrella in order to ensure better cooperation.
NASVI wants to bring about macro-level changes in the rules and regulations concerning street vendors. Most of the laws are severely outdated which don’t recognize the changing times and the issues faced by street vendors in today’s world. Unless changes are enacted, the livelihood of almost 10 million Indians is at stake.
Membership is open to all Trade Unions, Community-based Organizations, Non-Government Organizations, and all individuals who wish to work for the empowerment of India’s street vendors. NASVI refuses to be a competing mouthpiece that vies with trade unions and similar federations. Instead, it wants to bring all street vendors and their respective associations in the struggle for policies that recognize the challenges faced by vendors and provides them with viable solutions and protection from draconian laws.
The organization has always been in the forefront when it comes to improving and empowering vendors. NASVI has partnered with Nestle in the past in imparting food safety and hygiene education to street food vendors. Such acts allow vendors to keep up with the times and also attract more business. NASVI has also been pushing for the government to recognize the huge untapped potential of the street vendor market. Organizing, educating and dignifying street vendors can go a long way in unlocking India’s hidden gem which has the capacity to transform the economy.
The Indian street vendor market is one that is hugely under-represented but is omnipresent no matter where one goes. The huge opportunities that lie in the market can change the lives of the millions who are engaged in the trade and even transform the way business is done.