In an important decision, the Modi government has taken the initiative to give a new identity to street vendors. Recently, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has signed an important MoU with the popular food delivery app Swiggy. Under this MOU, Swiggy will include street vendors in its food delivery program through the PM Street Vendor Aatmanirbhar Nidhi [PM SVANIDHI Scheme], which will give a new dimension to street vendors and help them tide over the devastation caused by the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
A statement released by the Ministry read, “MoHUA and Swiggy will run a pilot program by on-boarding 250 vendors across five cities namely – Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi, Indore, and Varanasi.”
The statement added that MoHUA has coordinated with the key stakeholders including Municipal Corporations, FSSAI, Swiggy and GST officials to ensure all mandatory guidelines are followed. Under the initiative, the street food vendors will also be helped in availing PAN and FSSAI registration with additional training being provided for maintaining hygiene practices apart from packaging and menu digitization.
The initiative currently in its pilot phase is targeted to benefit over 50 lakh street vendors, with the Indian government also willing to equip the vendors with a working capital loan of up to Rs 10,000 to be payable via 12 months EMI.
Based on the success received during the pilot, Swiggy will scale the initiative to other parts of the country which will result in the cropping up of an additional distribution channel for the street vendors. However, it remains to be seen how Swiggy enforces its strict regulations and hygiene standards on the vendors which are of grave importance especially amidst the pandemic.
According to the Facebook post of All India Radio News, “The ministry and Swiggy will jointly run a trial program covering 250 street food vendors in Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi, Indore and Varanasi.”
With this plan, the Modi government has not only inspired the start-ups to touch infinite heights but has also succeeded in once again fulfilling the promise of development by empowering street vendors.
Let us wait for the outcome of this pilot project. If results are encouraging this initiative will open new doors of success for street food vendors.
Report- Vikas Chandra Agrawal