Imphal street vendors beg government for their livelihood

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Imphal: “How will the street vendors repay loans offered by the government when street vendors are not allowed to vend?” All Manipur Street Vendors Federation (AMSVF) asked the government.
The street vendors’ federation secretary Sh. Rajendro Meetei, speaking at a press conference held at Manipur Press Club, Majorkhul, Imphal on Monday said for the welfare of street vendors the present state government has been providing loans. But the street vendors are not allowed to vend.

As per Street vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act 2014 it is mentioned that the rights of streets vendors should be protected. However, in Manipur instead of fulfilling the Act, police and Imphal Municipal Corporation have been dispersing the street vendors from vending in the Khwairamband market areas, Rajendro said.

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Chief minister N. Biren Singh on February 15 while reopening of Ima Keithel urged the street vendors not to vend on roads blocking the passage. He assured the street vendors that the government would sort out a provision to accommodate them.

The chief minister, on December 7, disbursed loans to 3,362 vendors to help the street vendors amid pandemic when the women markets were shut down. They were benefited under Pradhan Mantri Street Vendor’s Atma Nirbhar Nidhi (PM-SVANidhi) and 347 were under MUDRA scheme.

Since the launch of the scheme on June 1 last year by the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs to help street vendors recover their financial loss suffered due to Covid-19 pandemic, the scheme benefited 5,354 street vendors of the state till last year. The scheme is valid till March 2022.

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Under PM-SVANidhi, each street vendor can avail loan up to Rs 10,000 repayable in monthly instalments within a period of one year. The scheme provides interest subsidy of 7 percent on regular and timely repayments and also incentivize digital transactions by vendors by providing monthly cash back up to Rs 100. Further, the vendors can avail the facility of escalation of the credit limit on timely early repayment of loan.

Rajendro asked that the government should be transparent regarding the owners of the market sheds that have been constructing at Lamphel Supermarket area and Khwairamband temporary markets. It is suspicious that the market sheds constructing in the areas are under the control of some bureaucrats and some high rank officials of IMC, he alleged.

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Since three days of the inauguration of three Khwairamband Ima Markets on October 12, 2010 ‘Sinfam Amadi Saktam Kanba Lup’ has been demanding to solve the issue of street vendors regarding their vending areas. However the issue has been suppressed, he added.

He appealed the government to consult with the representatives of the street vendors’ federation to bring a solution to the issue.

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