Bangalore: Millions of street vendors in cities and towns across India will soon be empowered to run their micro level business by law, union Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Ajay Maken said Monday.
"The union government will re-introduce the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill in parliament to empower them by law and give micro-level business its due," Maken said at a function here.
A standing committee of parliament has given its report on the proposed bill, which aims at licensing street vendors and providing up to 2.5 percent of a city population an opportunity to conduct a regulated vending business.
"The cabinet will soon study the report and clear the dill for amending the existing law in the current budget session of parliament, when it meets after recess from April 22," Maken said at the unveiling of Janalakshmi-Manipal Institute of Financial Inclusion (JMIFI) in the Manipal University campus on the city's outskirts.
The private institute will offer three-week training to its staff in basic delivery of services to the financially excluded people in urban areas.
Noting that lack of skill training among the youth from poor families in urban areas was a major challenge, Maken said one of the reasons for the shortcoming was due to the government-sponsored schemes not reaching them.
"We need institutions like Janalakshmi to empower the urban youth from the poorer sections of society, as currently only seven percent of the country's population was getting training in skills, which is quite pathetic," he said.
In stark contrast, 74 per cent of people in South Korea get training to improve skill sets, while even in an under-developed African country like Botswana, 22 per cent of its people are being trained in some skills or other, he said.
"Exclusion has been a major problem and the best way to solve it is to ensure financial inclusion. Private institutes like Manipal Academy and Janalakshmi, the biggest micro finance institution in the country, joining hands to impart skills augurs well for the urban youth," Maken asserted.
Calling for a scientific approach to empower the urban youth, he said around 31 percent of urban population was contributing 56 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
"If urban India grows at 7.4 per cent of the GDP rate, it has the potential to generate about 170 million jobs in the near future," Maken observed.
Headed by former Citibank executive Ramesh Ramanthan, the institute will also focus on delivering financial services to the ordinary people in urban areas not well versed in saving and investing for returns.
"The programme addresses two critical challenges of urban India -- financial inclusion and quality employment. We will train about 1,000 youth every year in their native language or English for being absorbed anywhere in the country," Ramanathan said on the occasion.
Training programmes will also be conducted at Pune and Jaipur.
The micro-finance institute had disbursed Rs.1,000 crore short-term and other loans to the urban poor and expects a 250 per cent growth in lending in the new fiscal (2013-14) and reach a target of Rs.10,000 crore over the next three-four years.