Ehsas Program Reaches Out To Street Hawkers, After helping millions of eligible individuals around the country, the Ehsaas program has now been expanded to include street hawkers in order to help them improve their socioeconomic status by giving them greater earning options.
This is yet another one-of-a-kind Ehsaas initiative aimed at improving the lives of the underprivileged by wandering the pavements and streets of low-cost neighbourhoods and offering easy access to a greater choice of goods and services.
Under the banner of Mazdoor Ka Ehsaas, the Capital Development Authority (CDA), Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA), Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), and Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) are working together to implement the programme.
According to conservative estimates, Islamabad has over 20,000 street vendors who generate annual net revenue of up to Rupees 9.6 billion.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of a welfare state based on the Riyasat-e-Madina model is reflected in Ehsaas’ support for street sellers.
Around 200 vendors in Islamabad have received vending permits from the municipality as well as new eco-friendly carts as part of this effort. “This is for the first time in the history that any government paid heed to the concerns of the street vendors and took steps to ensure their respectable earning through providing them a proper legal space, license certificate, and new eco-friendly carts.” Syed Tahir Sardar, a street vendor at G-11 who is a beneficiary of the Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative, said.
Tahir Sardar said “This initiative has assisted me and other vendors, who provide watch repair services”
“Earlier we have been facing issues due to sitting illegally in the main markets and bearing loss whenever Capital Development Authority (CDA) launched encroachment operation.” he added, “This program has spared us from all the pressures and helped develop our companies,” describing how the owners of the stores in front of which we were seated used to abuse us by taking more and more money and pressuring us to raise the rent. Another programme recipient, Zahid Javed, a clothes dealer in the same industry, stated the Rehribaan project has alleviated our problems to a larger extent.
“We used to have trouble presenting more and more items on the cart, but this cart is much easier to use.
“He claims that because this cart is covered and can be secured, we are now protected from the elements, including heat and rain, as well as burglars.
“We can leave the stall there and freely move to do other tasks. We are thankful to the present government and urge you to include us in other initiatives of the Ehsaas program.”The government has launched this effort for street sellers for the first time in Pakistan, according to Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection.
“The marginalized segment of street vendors is an integral part of the local economy, which cannot be wished away in a low-income country like Pakistan,” she added.
Street vendors have remained an important feature of the global urban economy. They offer a variety of goods and services to those in the medium and lower-income brackets of society.
Pakistan is no exception since hundreds of thousands of impoverished salesmen rely on vending machines to make a living.
They reach out to every nook and cranny, especially in low-income areas, to bring everyday necessities to their doorstep.
They remained, nevertheless, a marginalized group. Regardless, a policy for the Islamabad Capital Territory was established in 1986, with a special committee meeting in 2015 and 2017 to build a complete framework for street sellers. However, no meaningful progress was achieved.
The present street vending framework discusses duties and punishments for infractions, but no complete framework that encompasses street sellers’ rights, privileges, and entitlements has been established in accordance with the much-needed protection.
After performing a study, Zia Bandey, Executive Director of the Center for Street Economy (CSE), reported that more than 200 current merchants had been furnished with carts in four sectors of the federal capital, including G-10, G-11, F-11, and I-10.
“During upcoming weeks, carts will be provided to the vendors in the F-7 sector and gradually this facility would be extended to other sectors as well.” “These carts are eco-friendly and being provided initially to the vendors already selling goods outside the shops or in markets for the last many years,” he informed.
“The only difference is that they now have a more convenient cart facility, legal space, and a license, and they no longer have to pay rent or money to any store there and risk being exploited.”
These merchants who have been given carts and permits may now concentrate more intently on their enterprises without fear of being exploited.