Jaipur: Street vendors selling semi-perishable goods in Rajasthan are facing a never-before threat of loss of livelihood, a survey of over 2,500 vendors has revealed.

The Public Response Against Helplessness and Action for Redressal (PRAHAR), an NGO working for the welfare of street vendors nationally, and Centre for Human Rights and Social Welfare (CHRSW), Rajasthan, an NGO from Rajasthan on Thursday released the study 'Cause, Effect and Redressal: Loss of Livelihood to Street Vendors of Rajasthan'.

Out of a total of 2.5 million street vendors in the state, 54 percent sell semi-perishable goods. The study said they have been facing increasing threat to their livelihoods due to introduction of "impractical and discriminatory rules".

The study noted that 83 percent vendors selling all categories of goods said they were facing increased harassment by local authorities and goons, and pay an average of Rs.140 per week as 'hafta'.

At least 60 percent vendors said police and municipal authorities were the main source of harassment while 42 percent vendors selling all categories of goods said they face inhuman treatment from authorities and always live in a threat of their goods being confiscated, eviction and loss of livelihood.

Moreover, 36 percent vendors across all categories said that due to lack of legal identity, they are unable to source financial assistance. "It is sad to note that despite being an integral part of our society, street vendors continue to be subjected to harassment by authorities due to ambiguous and discriminatory rules and non-implementation of a clearly defined welfare policy," said PRAHAR executive committee member and national coordinator Abhay Raj.

CHRSW general secretary Saroj Khan said the study clearly shows that the exploitation and eviction of street vendors is very much evident and is only increasing. "According to the vendors, discriminatory and impractical rules, certain municipality acts, beautification and developmental drives causing forced eviction are resulting in loss of livelihood to masses and becoming pretext for extortion of money and corruption," Khan said.

 She said a uniform central law must be enacted and all anti-vendor activities or rules must be abolished or amended so that the spirit of National Urban Street Vendors policy could be upheld and vendors can enjoy their right to earn their livelihood.

(Agencies)