An Overview of Street Vending in Nilambur

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2017
18 Pages






The social living in Kerala was in a condition with its foundation laid deeply on the tradition of agriculture and cottage industries. Markets and towns were the major trade hotspots from which the system of street trading has evolved. Due to the fall in agricultural sector and introduction of privet capital, these trade centres lost their stand. The debut of corporate and foreign investments in the economy sabotaged the active retail trading to an irrevocable state. Even in such circumstances roadside stalls still survived in country sides providing local directions to travellers and staging social and political idle talks. As urbanization spread, a misconception developed that the street stalls are against the legal codes, leaving behind their social, economical and cultural prospects and relevance un-discussed.


Trading has initiated from the beginning of socialization itself, by exchanging agricultural products to neighbouring societies after securing for daily needs and re-production. For instance, when the coastal societies overflow with marine foods and salt, exchange was done by them with agricultural products from countryside. When the barter system prevailed in the society, a venue for it night markets and weekly markets evolved. When weekly markets had agricultural produce, night market sold daily needs. Every kind of trading in this world was rooted from the road. Even though lifestyle, development and economic growth have made extreme changes to the trading system, still a considerable population in the world makes their day through street trading.

Unemployment created by the crisis in the rural occupation sector and fall in agricultural sector persuades several towards street trading which doesn’t meet much capital like any other. Allegations of the officials who denote street trading as illegal along with the demands of local thugs for money had made street trading a much worse experience for the traders. Studies reveal that a 20% of their income had been lost by such atrocities.

Latin America stands as the continent with the maximum number of developed countries. In 2006, Latin America had its major cities Caracas, Lima, Mexico city, Santiago, Sao Paulo and a survey done among them shows that the numbers of street traders have doubled relative to the last decades. Street trading forms the major tourist attraction in Nepal and Singapore is the country who has given license for every street traders. The official media, People’s Daily states that China is the country with the maximum number of street traders, with a count of 360 million, whereas U.S has just a million engaged in street trading.

After the 1990’s globalization and liberalization introduced in the country triggered urbanization along with its new economic strategies which ignited conflicts between local governing bodies and street traders. In cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore; middle and upper class societies and resident associations argued that street traders are invading public places and foot paths. As a remedy traders initiated their union. Manipur was the first state in India to legally support street trading and the state hold the credit of having maximum number of women street traders.

In 2004, central government in India developed a final form to such a strategy and appointed a commission to inquire about the issues faced by institutions in the unorganized sector.

In 2006, a report was made according to which a modified national plan was introduced in 2009. One of the major advantages was the town vending committee, Comprising of the representatives of street traders and local government officials. This committee has the authority to decide rules and regulations suited for that locality. After several long legal allegations, in 2014 march 5, central government passed the street trade employment protection Act.

Situation in Kerala, in Kerala it was in 2011 for the first time, the government initiated procedures for the protection of street traders. According to the plan, street traders are defined as the one who sales in street stalls, rickshaw stall, exhibits on ground, hawkers, light foods, cloths, fruits, vegetables, toys, cobblers etc.

The plan helped to recognize street trading as a self employment and an opportunity to provide goods and services at cheaper costs thereby contributing to the development and prosperity of economy. A major share of street traders are physically challenged and for them, the plan was persuasion to find and secure self employment rather than including in legally restricted activities such as beggary.


Presently the working environments of street vendors in Nilambur are quite uncertain. Recently many discussions are made on the issues pertaining to the evacuation of some vendors from their present vending location. They point out reasons such as some vendors use large area for vending activities than permitted, they may creates traffic blocks, loose of public property, disposal of heavy waste in the forest etc. But in reality the government and concerned authorities does not possess any detailed records about street vendors regarding their number, nature of product, status of vending zone etc. Even in the Nilambur most of the vendors trades with food items but there is no evidence about how much of them haven’t obtained food and safety licence.

In such a circumstance the study is trying to explore about the working environment of street traders with special focus on the socio economic status. The main cause for choosing Nilambur municipality from Malappuram district is that day by day an increasing trend develops there in terms of street traders.


· To know the socio-economic status of street vendors in Nilambur Municipality.


The present study is descriptive one based on survey method which conducted in Nilambur Municipality which carried out with the help of secondary and primary data.Secondary data collected from published books, magazine, website, journals and report periodicals.The primary data is collected through systematic schedules and questionnaire from street vendors in Nilambur Municipality.Lottery method of Simple Random Sampling is used to select different street vendors in Nilambur Municipality. Samples of 97 street vendors are selected.Sample size is determined on the basis of Krejcie and Morgan table.


Table: 1.1Demographic profilesof the Street Vendors in Nilambur

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Source: Primary data

The table 1.1 shows that 93.8% of street vendors were male while 6.2% of street vendors were female. It has been observed that 35.1% vendors are aged in between 35-45 and 29.9% are in between 45-55. There were most of the vendors i.e. 81.4% belongs to OBC (Other Backward Caste) category, 5.2% were ST (Scheduled Tribes), 4.1% were SC (Scheduled Caste) and remaining 9.3% belongs to other category. The table also reveals that most of the vendors (57.7%) now living in a medium level family. Then the 55.6% of vendors were qualified only high school level education, 39.2% were obtain primary education, there were 5.2% of vendors were belongs to plus two and only 2.1% of vendors were graduate. There are 66% of street vendors have its own house for living, 22.7% of vendors haven’t their own houses, but they are rented houses and remaining 11.3% are homeless.

Table 1.2 Name of ward in which street vending takes place

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Source: Primary data

From the table 1.2 shows that Kulakkandam is the main hotspot where 22.7% of street vendors are located for their vending purpose.Schoolkunnu is the next main location where 17.5% of vendors are concentrated. 14.4% are concentrating their vending activities at Asupathrikkunnu. Varadempadam, Charankulam, Karimpuzha etc. are the other areas where different type of vendors located their retailing.

Table 1.3 Ownership status of the place

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Source: Primary data

The table 1.3 depicts that around 54.6% of vending locations are under control of ULB (Urban Local Bodies), 37.1% of locations are vested in the hands of PWD (Public Works Department), and the remaining 8.2% are controlled by private parties.

Table 1.4 Peculiarity of vending location

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Source: Primary data

The table 1.4 shows that vending zone is one of the main peculiarity reason in which most of the vendors (29.9%) choose as their vending location. 22.7% of vendors choose their area of vending because which is tourist location.11% of them are placed their trading at junctions and remaining vendors select their area at railway station, bus station, park etc.

Table 1.5 Current status of vending zone

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Source: Primary data

The table 1.5 reveals that 39.2% of vending locations are Free Zone, 30.9% of locations are restricted to vending and around 29.9% of locations are prohibited area for vending activities.

Table 1.6 Mode of vending

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Source: Primary data

The table 1.6 reveals that 52.6% of vendors choose land as their mode of vending. 28.9% of them made temporarily raised platform, 10.3% of vendors use cart, and remaining them use three or four wheelers as mode of vending.

Table 1.7 Nature of Items being sold

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Source: Primary data

From the table 1.7 we can obtain that foods are the most item which selected by all most of the street vendors for the purpose of selling. Remaining them sells other items such as clothes, toys, earthen pots, cobbler etc.


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An Overview of Street Vending in Nilambur
Dr. Gafoor Memorial MES Mampad College
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Mr. MUHAMMED MISHHAB P (b.1994) had his bachelor and Master degree in Commerce from the University of Calicut. He is also cleared UGC-NET in Commerce and State Eligibility Test in commerce. His areas of interest includes Social Research,Taxation and Finance. He has few monographs and articles published with ISBN and ISSN.
overview, street, vending, nilambur
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Muhammed Mishhab P (Author), 2017, An Overview of Street Vending in Nilambur, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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