The cash-strapped North Delhi Municipal Corporation — in an attempt to generate more revenue — has decided to give permanent licences to food vans and e-food carts in its jurisdiction. Food vans will be approved for places where space is available and footfall is abundant.
A proposal for allowing food trucks had been passed by the north civic body last month.
Officials of north civic body said that other than increasing revenue of the municipality, the initiative will also create jobs for a lot of unemployed youths.
A senior official of the north corporation said that modalities of the scheme are yet to be worked out. The official, however, said that other than issuing licences to existing food carts, people belonging to economically weaker sections would be given preference and discount in setting up their food business in empty lands of the municipality.
Mayor of north corporation, Jai Prakash, said that there are a number of eateries already functioning at different locations in north Delhi but the civic body does not get any revenue from such establishments. “This scheme will pave a way to legalise such food carts after paying a licence fee, which will be decided later. Other than this, we will also promote setting up food vans in empty lands of the civic body at various locations in north Delhi. We will allocate these food vans to those people whose annual family income is less than ₹25,000. We will provide them special discounts to set up movable eateries in empty lands and at places where footfall is high,” Prakash said.
He said that officials have been given instructions to start a survey to identify empty lands and places where such food vans can be set up in the jurisdiction of north corporation. “Though the fee for the licence is yet to be decided but it is likely to be kept dynamic, which means that those who wish to set up their food vans in busy markets or at prime locations, will have to pay slightly higher prices for a licence. People belonging to EWS category with less than ₹25,000 annual income are likely to get a nearly 25% discount,” the mayor said.
A senior official of the north corporation also said that applicants will have to produce a no-objection-certificate from the traffic police as well as from the road owning authority if they wish to set up food carts on any road side.
“Initially, we are planning to allow one to two food vans per ward. But this number can be increased later if required. This move will create employment for weaker section and they will not have to pay illegally to any other agency or local authorities. This initiative will also help the civic body in augmenting its revenue collection and make it financially stable,” the official said.
A similar move was passed by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) in the beginning of this year. In its proposal the south civic body had proposed that it would provide licences to five smart food eateries, including food trucks, vans, e-carts in each municipal ward in its jurisdiction.
KS Mehra, former commissioner of the unified MCD, said that the initiative will help in boosting revenue of the corporations.
“It is a very good move and such efforts are required to be taken by the authorities to augment revenue collection, especially when it is undergoing a huge financial crisis. This initiative will bring additional funds to the corporation as illegally running food vans will be brought under the tax net of the MCD,” Mehra said.
He added that the civic body should ensure that all areas are tapped under the scheme for maximum revenue realisation.
However, the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) said they were against the proposal. Arbind Singh, national coordinator NASVI, criticised the move and termed it “anti-street vendors”.
Singh said that the civic body was yet to implement Street Vendors Act 2014, which speaks about regulation and welfare of the street vendors.
“It is an effort to snatch livelihood from the street food vendors. Through allocation of e-food carts and other such special type of eateries, the municipality only wants backdoor entry of capitalists. They should first regulate the existing street food vendors who set up roadside stalls . They should implement Street Vendors Act 2014,” he said. Singh added that the clause of giving priority and discount to EWS people “merely seems to be a lip service”.
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