Lok Sabha on Friday passed a bill to regulate street vending activities and protect the rights of urban street vendors, including against harassment by police and municipal authorities.
Winding up the debate on the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012, housing and urban poverty alleviation minister Girija Vyas said the legislation would protect the rights of those "who could not express their feelings and could not open their hearts".
"At present around 2% of the population is involved in street vending activity and this figure is likely to reach 2.5% in a few years," she said, adding the proposed legislation will allow them to earn their livelihood without fear.
The bill provides for security and protection of livelihood to all street vendors having a vending certificate to be issued by the Town Vending Committee.
Vyas said police and other authorities cannot remove a street vendor who has the certificate.
Those markets which have been functional for more than 50 years will be considered natural markets and vendors located there will be protected, she said.
The minister said state and the Centre will have to work together to make the Act a success.
Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said that the entire House was unanimous in passing the measure as it thinks that it was the duty of the lawmakers to "wipe off the tears of poor".
"We must think of the constraints of the destitute," Swaraj said reciting a couplet.
Earlier, participating in the debate, members cautioned the government that it should not make street vendors victims of 'license raj' and remove all bottlenecks in the way of proper implementation of the measure to provide social security to them.