Warangal: Street vending, a source of livelihood for nearly 2.5 per cent of country’s population, is often seen as unsightly nuisance but not many people were aware of the fact that it not only constitutes an integral part of urban economy but also provides affordable services to middle and lower income groups.In a bid to safeguard street vendors’ livelihood and make their profession profitable and respectable, the Union government framed a policy, Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, by developing the concept of dedicated vending zones. Also Read – Hyderabad: Intermediate student dies of cardiac arrest in class Advertise With Us City’s street vendors, who were hitherto treated as illegal entities and encroachers on public space, will soon get respectability. Thanks to the Central government, which selected historical Warangal and fast-growing Siddipet to develop them as a model street vending cities. This was revealed by Sanjay Kumar, Joint Secretary of National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM), Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, who was in the city on Monday. The official, who elicited information from the city vending committee members and officials about the measures being taken for the upliftment of street vendors, expressed satisfaction. Also Read – Vemulawada school seized after road accident Advertise With Us It may be mentioned here that so far, the authorities have established six vending zones in the city with an outlay of Rs 1.18 crore and had provided space for 291 street vendors. “The Centre would give cash rewards for the top three States implementing Street Vendors Act in mission mode. The top three States would get Rs 10 crore, Rs 5 crore and Rs 3 crore according to their ranks,” Sanjay Kumar said. He sought the officials to prepare a road map to turn the city a model one in the country. Advertise With Us As part of this, the city vending committee would identify all the street vendors and issue them the licenses acknowledging vending as a legitimate profession. The committee would appoint an agency to earmark vending zones in the city. Most importantly, all the registered street vendors would be brought under the ambit of social security schemes – Aarogyasri, bank loans, insurance, ration cards, educational facilities etc. This apart, the authorities will have to organise skill development programmes for the vendors. Speaking to The Hans India, Warangal Urban District Collector Prashanth Jeevan Patil said: “According to a survey conducted by the Mission for Elimination of Poverty in Municipal Areas (MEPMA), we have issued identity cards to 3,451 street vendors in the city. Of which, 1,526 vendors have been covered under social security schemes. As many as 1,566 vendors have bank savings accounts.” The MEPMA has formed 13 common interest groups, of which two groups have availed Rs 2.5 lakh each bank linkage loans.