The Backbone Of Nagaland’s Economy - Eastern Mirror
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Editorial

The Backbone of Nagaland’s Economy

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Oct 22, 2019 9:43 pm

Nagaland street vendors, who have been dubbed as the “backbone of the local economy,” must be having backache from long hours of sitting in unhygienic narrow spaces on road pavements, outside commercial complexes and open areas. While these vendors, who are mostly women, contribute immensely to the economy of the state and help support their families financially, their plight remains to this day. Seminars and awareness programmes that are supposed to be for their welfare have failed to bring any significant change. They shoulder huge responsibility of supporting their families, to ensure that there is food on the table every day and that their children get all basic needs, yet spend most of their time in some of the most unsafe places, including road pavements. Most of them continue to sell same old items at the same old spot year after year. This calls for the need to formulate a pragmatic mechanism to uplift them and bring about social change through them.

As many street vendors are illiterate, practical lessons will be more helpful than hours of lectures. It is important to make them aware of market dynamics as well as show them how to expand their business. Proper planning can make a lot of difference in any profession. For instance, some vendors (in other Indian cities) keep pulling the same old wooden cart year after year, selling different products based on its availability, while others go to a makeshift place and then start a small store in the corner of some shops before opening a big grocery store after a few years. There is no limit for those who have the vision and will. But since most people in the informal trading sector are not educated, they need help. They should be taught the ways to expand their business – slowly but steadily. The state government can provide better avenues for them by constructing marketing sheds or even commercial complexes like the popular Ima Keithel or Women’s Market in Imphal, Manipur at least in the state’s capital Kohima and commercial hub, Dimapur. Such commercial complexes may not completely solve the problems of street vendors but will surely help them immensely. They will at least have a roof over their heads and stay safe from reckless drivers.

Besides helping them get out of the vicious circle of street vending, it’s time the state government implement Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014. Most street vendors in the state may be too weak to fight for it but that doesn’t mean they should be sidelined and deprived of the privileges entitled to them. Adopting the Act will help everyone as it is not only about their privileges such as issuance of vending certificate, providing new site or area on relocation for those with such certificates, etc. but with rights come responsibilities. Under the Act, vendors are not allowed to carry out any business activities in certain areas and locations; they should remove their goods after the time allotted to them is over, maintain cleanliness in their surroundings, keep civic amenities in good condition and pay periodic maintenance charges. So, adopting the Act will not only strengthen the backbone of the local economy but also make them responsible citizens. The plight of street vendors need to be heard and addressed.

 

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Oct 22, 2019 9:43:28 pm
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