Legislation in offing for street vendors

November 11th, 2011 - 9:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) Central legislation to protect the livelihood rights and social security of street vendors is on the anvil, while a model bill to give property rights to slum dwellers was ready, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Selja said Friday.

Talking to mediapersons here, Selja said the ministry had circulated a model bill in 2009 concerning street vendors but only one state had enacted a legislation.

The minister, addressing a press conference, said they will try to bring in the winter session of parliament the draft Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2011 that seeks to establish an oversight mechanism for the real estate sector.

She said the ministry got representations from street vendors and their associations to bring a central legislation which would be uniformly and mandatorily applicable across all states and union territories.

“We have decided to go in for a central legislation… We are working to evolve effective central legislation to protect livelihood and social security of legitimate street vendors,” Selja said.

She said the legislation will intend to prevent harassment of street vendors by police and civic authorities.

The bill, she added, will be based on basic principles such as demarcation of vending zones for street vendors, robust and effective grievance redressal mechanism and adequate representation to street vendors, particularly women, in institutional structures created for proper implementation of the proposed law.

The ministry had come out with a National Policy on Urban Street Vendors in 2009.

Selja said the ministry was redeveloping the slum redevelopment strategy by assigning property rights to them through the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY).

“We have gone for model bill and are sharing it with state governments,” she said.

RAY, which has been devised with the aim to make the country free of slums, proposes decisive action for inclusive urban development and acknowledges the presence of poor in the cities, recognises their contribution as essential to the city’s functioning and redress fundamental reasons that tie them down to poverty.

The draft Model Property Rights to Slum Dwellers Act, 2011 says that every landless person living in a slum in any city or urban area on June 4, 2009 shall be entitled to a dwelling space at an affordable cost.

Slum dweller or a collective of slum dwellers shall be given a legal entitlement and the dwelling space provided shall not be transferrable.

The draft bill says that the dwelling space may be provided “in-situ” (at the place of residence) as far as possible unless dictated by public interest or natural exigencies.

It provides for constitution of grievance redressal committee and establishing a state slum redevelopment authority.

Answering queries, Selja denied that National Advisory Council headed by Sonia Gandhi had criticised certain aspects of its scheme to rid the country of slums. “Most of (NAC) concerns have been addressed by the ministry… as far as possible there will be in situ process concerning redevelopment of slums,” she said, adding that the states have to inform the ministry why in situ development cannot take place in case they intend to relocate place of resettlement of slum dwellers.

Selja said to address the credit needs of economically weaker sections, the ministry had proposed to create a credit risk guarantee fund (CGFS) under RAY.

Under CGFS, the central government will provide credit guarantee to housing loans upto Rs.5 lakh extended by lending institutions for low income housing.

The guarantee cover available under the scheme would be to the extent of 90 percent of the sanctioned housing loan amount for a loan amount of up to Rs.2 lakh and 85 percent for loans between Rs.2 lakh and Rs.5 lakh. A sum of Rs.1,000 crore has been earmarked as initial corpus for CGFS.

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