Yesterday , Bombay Municipal Corporation workers pulled down a thatched roof over the cart of a roadside hawker Ramji , selling tea / biscuits / vada-pav , on a footpath outside my house
> Footpath is for pedestrians to walk on ; not for Ramji to sell tea !
> Ramji did not have a ” Hawking License ”
> As of today , some 30,000 + hawkers are ” licensed ” to hawk
> Under pressure from High Courts , BMC is in the process of taking a
” Census ” of all hawkers in Mumbai , in order to legalize another
90,000 hawkers , to be accommodated in specified hawking zones
> It is my belief that Mumbai has over 300,000 hawkers now and that
this figure is growing by 10,000 every year
> Citizens of most residential localities do not want ” Hawking Zones ”
in their localities !
> But almost all citizens continue to patronize nearby hawkers , whether
licensed or not and whether in prescribed ” Hawking Zones ” or not !
> Hawkers need to ply their trade where people live – and therefore need
to live where people live – not 20 Km away !
> Illegal / Un-licensed hawkers are the main source of ” Hafta ” for the
> So that demolished shed , will come up once again tomorrow morning !
> Most hawkers in any given locality are under the ” protection ” of local
Corporators , who give ” advance notice ” of impending demolition !
> If India as a whole , needs to create 12 million jobs every year , then
most likely , Mumbai , with its population of 16 million people , needs to
create at least 300,000 jobs per year !
> But ” Manufacturing Establishments ” are leaving Mumbai , since it has
become a ” High Wage Island ” , rendering products manufactured here
un-competitive . Hence no blue collar jobs in Mumbai anymore !
> As far as ” Service Sector ” is concerned , it is fast giving up its ” Across
the Counter ” service nature and morphing into internet / mobile app
based ” New E-Com Economy ” , needing few new hires !
> Apparently , the only ” Economic Sector ” that is creating new jobs and is
” Self Renewing ” is that of the ” Self Employed ” hawkers in Mumbai !
I suppose it is the same story , in all metros
It is also the economic sector which needs no more than a few thousands
of Rupees to create one job , as against a requirement of Rs 5 lakhs in
MSME sector and Rs 5 Crores in large organized sector !
> And , retired hawkers do not ask for any pension , despite having one
rank , for their entire working lives !
I foresee a not too distant day , when all footpaths everywhere , are taken over by the hawkers ( where these are not already taken over , that is ! )
For providing livelihood to a section of society ( viz: hawkers ) , another section of the society ( viz: pedestrians ) will need to put up with some
Unless some people ( who have jobs / incomes ) want their convenience to
take precedence over the livelihood of Ramji and don’t care that his 2 children starve to death !
In any case , in India , every single day , some 4,383 children ( under age of 5 ) die of starvation . Another 2 , won’t change the ” Statistics ” much !
But , if the already employed have a better solution , let them propose it !
10 July 2015