Due to a lack of clarity in the judicial decisions, in 2009, the Street Vendors Policy 2004 was revised as the ‘National Policy on Urban Street Vendors 2009’. The revised policy was not legally binding and made little progress on the matter of street vendors. In 2010, the Supreme Court directed the government to enact a law regulating street vending and thus, the Street Vendors Bill 2012 was drafted. The Bill was passed in both houses by February 2014 and became the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014. This Act was drafted with the legislative intent of protecting the livelihood rights of street vendors as well as regulating street vending through demarcation of vending zones, conditions for and restrictions on street vending. The Act now governs over all matters in regards to the rights and duties of the street vendors in India. It also provides for confiscation of goods that are being sold by street vendors to be cataloged properly.
It is in this context that Centre for Civil Society – a Delhi-based think tank decided to take up a study of the implementation of 2014 Act across India and come up with a matrix and an index to rank states. We filed applications under the Right to Information Act, 2005 across India, made more than 250 phone calls to expedite the RTI reply process, compiled court judgments and referred to other secondary sources such as news stories.