Landmark Indian Street Vendors Act a victory for SEWA and all workers
Decades of struggle by India's Self Employed Women's Association have come to fruition with the passing into law of a Street Vendors Act which recognizes, regulates and protects the livelihoods of India's 40 million street vendors, 200,000 of whom are SEWA members.
The bill was passed in the Lower House of Parliament last year but only adopted on February 19, 2014 by the Upper House following a concentrated press (including a hunger strike in New Delhi) by SEWA and allied organizations,
"This is a proud moment for us at SEWA as we have struggled hard to improve the situation of street vendors, many of them women who were earlier denied the right to a respectful livelihood and subjected to severe exploitation. With the passage of this bill, street vendors who represent a major chunk of unorganized sector in India shall be recognized as workers and also guaranteed with social security cover," says SEWA's Manali Shah.