Mumbai: Many street vendors risk missing out on credit loan program
Resistance by BMC employees to receiving hard copies of documents submitted by the general public during the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to cause more than one million street vendors in Mumbai to lose the benefits of the loan-to-credit program of the Union government.
Last month, the Union’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs announced a program to provide an affordable loan of up to Rs 10,000 to more than 50 lakh street vendors across the country, who have lost their means. livelihood after the country imposed the lockdown on March 24.
On May 20, the Center wrote to all states and union territories, seeking a list of these hawkers with details such as Aadhaar card, PAN card, and bank account number, so that the loan amount can be transferred directly.
Following the letter from the ministry, the BMC licensing department wrote to the city’s 24 neighborhoods to compile these lists within 15 days. The civic body, as part of its investigation under the Street Vendors (Protecting Livelihoods and Regulating Street Vendors) Act 2014, identified a lakh peddler in Mumbai. He recorded details such as Aadhaar card, PAN card, and addresses of hawkers, but not their bank account numbers.
To take advantage of the program, registered hawkers must provide their bank details to ensure that the money is directly deposited into their accounts. However, as these details were not submitted, hawkers rushed to BMC parish offices to submit them.
City officials, however, have refused to receive documents from the general public due to the pandemic.
The hawkers said that when they went to local offices to submit bank details, city officials refused to accept the same on the grounds that, due to Covid-19, its shipping section did not accepted no document.
The AITUC Hawkers Union has written to City Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in this regard. “Since the ministry said that all hawkers surveyed would get benefits, BMC should put in place a mechanism to collect bank details from all hawkers, whether they are eligible or not. He should create a website where hawkers can submit their contact details if they do not accept the documents. The BMC’s decision will leave many hawkers out of the program, ”said Syed Haider Imam, general secretary of the union, who is also associated with the National Hawkers Federation which had asked for help for street vendors.
“If the municipal staff is busy, the civic body can get help from members of the city’s central and zonal sales committees to collect bank details. If the list is sent to the ministry without bank details, the very purpose of helping street vendors will be defeated, ”he added.
Narendra Gosavi, who has been peddling for about 25 years near Kamgar Nagar in Kurla East, said: “After the lockdown, for the first two months, I managed to run my family. But now my savings are up. Because there is no income for about two and a half months. I have a family of 13 to feed. Right now, Rs 10,000 will help a lot. But I don’t know how I will get it because BMC does not provide our bank details to the government. “
Deputy Superintendent (License) Neela Patange admitted to compiling a list of hawkers without collecting their bank details. When asked how these hawkers would get benefits without bank details, she replied:
“Our job was to compile a list and send it to the municipal administration management with a no-objection certificate stating that these hawkers can benefit from the benefits. They will take care of the bank details of the hawkers.
However, Pandurang Jadhav, director of the municipal administration branch, said the problem would be rectified “at a later stage.” “I had no idea BMC had already started the process of collecting data on hawkers. Recently we have received directives from the central government and soon we will be developing a plan. If there is a problem, like what the union says about hawkers’ bank details that are not collected, then it can be rectified at a later stage, ”he said.