The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, in partnership with the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), has launched a programme under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana to train street vendors across India on personal hygiene, sanitation and food safety standards.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, and Health Minister J.P. Nadda, launched the programme on 13 March. Since then, almost 25,000 street vendors in Delhi have been trained across 40 centres in the capital.
The four-hour long training programme consists of components to make street vendors aware about sustainability, transformation of the street food sector through safe practices, including training on personal hygiene, cart hygiene, environmental protection, among several other aspects.
Street vendors are also taught to wear aprons, cap and gloves at all times during the preparation of food and serving food to consumers. They are also taught the use of hand sanitisers.
Mohammad Ansari, a tea vendor at Madhu Vihar who had come to the Preet Vihar centre in east Delhi for the training, said, “I heard from my friends that NASVI is providing training and certificates and I immediately thought of joining this programme as it would teach me several things I did not know and help to implement that knowledge in my business. Since a certificate is also being provided, we would not be harassed by the MCD or the police.”
Sangeeta Singh, programme coordinator, NASVI, told The Sunday Guardian, “We have been trying to train street vendors for a long time, and it is a very positive development that Government of India is taking the initiative for such a programme. We are hopeful that this programme, whichhas been launched as a pilot project in Delhi, would be able to transform the street food sector in the country.”
On completion of training, street vendors are put through a simple oral assessment and on passing the assessment, the Ministry, along with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), would be providing smart card-based certificates to every successful vendor and ensure that they get their registration with the FSSAI and the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. Successful candidates would also be provided with a kit comprising aprons, T-shirts, gloves and hand sanitisers. The Ministry will also be compensating vendors registered for the course for a day’s loss of business by giving them an additional Rs 500.
Sanjeev Shukla, assessor at the Preet Vihar centre, said: “We are given a set of questions by the ministry for evaluation of the vendors. During the assessment, we primarily look for what the street vendors have learnt during their training programme, and how likely are they to implement the knowledge gained in their business. I have been getting mature answers from 90% of the candidates.”
Chandan Singh, who sells samosa and jalebi near the Nizamuddin railway station, had come to this centre for his post-training assessment and told this correspondent: “I have been in this business for about 20 years, but when I came here, I learnt several new things pertaining to hygiene, sanitation and cleanliness. I will definitely implement this new knowledge in my business as this would give a boost to my business as consumers are looking for clean and hygienic food. I feel motivated.”
NASVI has been reaching out to all street vendors through their “peer leaders” positioned at most markets in Delhi through distribution of pamphlets and a “campaign vehicle”.
Parshu Ram, centre in-charge at Preet Vihar, said, “Initially, there was a lot of difficulty in making street vendors believe that such a programme was being launched, but we went across markets and motivated the vendors to come and join. Now, this is being spread by the successful candidates and we are witnessing a huge daily turnout.”
The FSSAI along with NASVI will be monitoring the progress of those vendors who have been given their certificates to ensure that they are practising the lessons taught during their training. If any person is found violating the norms more than twice, his/her certificate could be cancelled.