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24 January 2012

Street Vendors in Madhya Pradesh to get Identity & Credit Cards

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By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: All street vendors in Madhya Pradesh will have Identity Cards in next three months. Specific places will be identified for them to run their business. In order to enable them carry out their business smoothly, a scheme to provide them loan on lower interest rate will be chalked out soon. Besides, they will get credit cards.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made the above announcements while addressing street vendors, who attended Panchayat at C.M.'s House here on Sunday.
It may be noted here the Chief Minister holds open dialogue with the prospective stakeholders before announcing welfare measures or policy initiatives for them. In this series, street vendors' Panchayat was held on Sunday.

Addressing the dialogue session, the Chief Minister said that the government takes care of the deprived. None would remain deprived. He said that identity cards to street vendors will thwart the possibilities of harassment to them. He said that the urban local bodies will identity and develop specific places for the street vendors. Such places will be categorized into three zones - Green, Yellow and Red. In the Green Zone, street vendors would do business throughout the day while in Yellow Zone trading time will be fixed and in Red Zone, vending will be prohibited after consulting the street vendors. A revolving fund would be created and be operated by the street vendors using the credit cards, he added.

Giving details about a scheme to provide loan to the street vendors, Mr. Chouhan said that Rs. 5000 would be provided to them in which Rs. 2500 will be shared by the state government as grant, Rs. 250 will be contribution of street vendor while Rs. 2250 will be bank loan, which could be easily repaid, he added.

Special Police Cell

Mr. Chouhan said that the state government will make a law to discourage the money lenders providing loan on higher interest rates without having license. He said that each district will have a special police cell. The street vendors would approach the Police Cell and lodge complaints about their harassment if any. The Police Cell will act immediately on their complaints.

He said that the street vendors having Identity Cards will be eligible to a number of welfare measures like education of children, health cover, marriage of daughters, delivery and assistance during accidents. He said that the state government will consider chalking out a scheme for housing facilities to the street vendors.

Mr. Chouhan said that maternity benefits will be provided to the street vendors' families. Mothers will get Rs. 5000, father will get Rs. 1500 and Rs. 1000 will be available for treatment of new born. He said that all possible educational facilities will be ensured to children of vendors if they pursue higher education.

Minister for Urban Administration Babulal Gaur said that the state government has scripted a history by making an Act for the welfare of street vendors. Describing the street vendors as honest and hardworking people Mr. Gaur said that it is for the first time such an initiative has been taken to invite the poor sections and seek their suggestions. He said that now the street vendors will no longer need to borrow from money lenders on higher rate of interest.

Minister of State for Urban Administration Manohar Oontwal said that the Chief Minister Mr. Chouhan is sensitive to the poor sections and therefore such a large number of pro-poor schemes have come in the state.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister released a booklet of guidelines to implement the Street Vendors - Protection of Livelihoods Act. He presented Identity Cards to Sunderbai, Madhavji, Arjun Yadav and Meena Kushwah.

Principal Secretary Urban Administration S. P. S. Parihar threw light on the salient features of the Act saying that this would enable the government chalk out welfare schemes for the street vendors. Former Chief Minister Sunderlal Patwa, Mayor Bhopal Mrs. Krishna Gaur and street vendors numbering about 3000 from across the state were present.

[Pervez Bari is a senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Madhya Pradesh). He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

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