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Status of Street Business in Birendranagar : A Study

This study has been completed by adopting both qualitative and quantitative study methods. Samples have been collected from those who are doing street business in Birendranagar and filled questionnaires containing necessary questions including opportunities, policy and practical obstacles of their street business have also been collected. In the same way, necessary data has been collected by talking to the people’s representatives and employees of Birendranagar municipality regarding policy measures and other practical aspects. A focus group discussion was also held discussing the need for policy measures for effective management of street business with street vendors, elected representatives and employees of Birendranagar municipality.

Data Collection
Primary sources
Samples were collected from those who are doing street business in Birendranagar and filled questionnaires including opportunities, policy and practical obstacles of their street business were collected. In the same way, necessary data has been collected by talking to the people’s representatives and employees of Birendranagar Municipality on policy and other practical aspects.

Secondary sources
For this study; reports, books, procedures, guidelines of Government of Nepal, Provincial Government Ministries, Birendranagar Municipality and other agencies working in the field related to market and street business have been studied and referred to.

Population and Sampling
By using Purposive Convenience Sampling, 30 percent of the data provided by the municipality has been selected from among the street vendors in the main market area of Birendranagar and close surrounding areas. Since there are 220 people doing street business in the municipal data, 30 percent of that number i.e. 66 people have been selected for the study.

Data Processing and Analysis
The information collected from primary and secondary sources have been processed and the study has been analyzed through necessary tables, figures, line drawings, and the data collected from secondary sources have been analyzed and appropriate conclusions have been reached.

Limitations of the study
The limitations of the study related to the study of the condition of street business in Birendranagar, its policy constraints and solutions are as follows :
• The study is limited to the condition of street business in Birendranagar, its policy constraints and solutions.
• In the study, only 30 percent of the total street vendors have been studied.
• The study is prepared over a period of 4 months.
• The recommendations of the study are focused on the rights given to the local level by the existing laws of Nepal. In the future, changes in the authority of the local level may require changes in the recommendations.

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1. Number of Street Vendors in Birendranagar

According to the statistics of Birendranagar municipality for the year 2076, the number of street vendors in the municipality was 700. Even at that time, the data of all Street Vendors in the municipality was not included. Within a span of three years, it dropped to 220 street vendors in the municipality. In the period of three years, according to the statistics of the municipality, about 500 street vendors have decreased.

There are various reasons for the exit of hundreds of people from the street business in a short period of time. Some of them being, the municipality removing the sidewalk traders through the police, not allowing them to do street business in public places, and the mistreatment of street vendors in the name of managing the city, the vendors said.

2. Age group involved in street business

23 percent of the respondents included in this study said that they are in the age group of 16 to 29 years. It was found that 53 percent of the street vendors were 30 to 44 years old. 24 percent of the respondents were in the age group of 45 to 60 years. Among the respondent street vendors, the number of women is very high. 61 percent of women and 39 percent of men are doing street business.

A large number of women have become self-employed through the street business. As women earn income from the street business, it increases the tendency of women to be involved in economic activities in the family as well. In addition, women’s involvement in economic activities also helps in women’s empowerment.

3. Educational Level of street vendors

It has been found that most of the street vendors have only completed the educational level up to basic education. 59 percent of the respondents said that they have basic education. 33 percent of the respondents studied up to SLC. Similarly, 8 percent of the respondents said that they have studied up to Proficiency Certificate level (Class 12). Looking at this data, 59% of street vendors with basic education are self-employed. 8 percent of the respondents who have studied up to proficiency certificate level (class 12) have chosen the street business as they did not find other employment opportunities.

4. Representation of street vendors by Geography

Among the street vendors included in the study, most of the respondents were permanent residents of Birendranagar. 51 percent of the respondents had permanent residence in Birendranagar, 9 percent had permanent address in other local levels of Surkhet and 27 percent of the respondents were from other districts of Karnali province except Surkhet. 11 percent of the people with permanent address in various parts of Nepal outside Karnali Province and 2 percent from outside Nepal (India).

Including 51% had permanent residence in Birendranagar, 9% with permanent address in other local levels of Surkhet and 27% from other districts of Karnali Province except Surkhet, 87% of the street vendors were of Karnali Province. Looking at this figure, more than half of the people doing sidewalk business in Birendranagar are residents of Birendranagar Municipality. The statistics show that the street business has helped the residents of the city in their income and livelihood.

5. Family status of street vendors

All the respondents who were doing street business were married. Most of them said that their husbands/wives are unemployed. 65 percent of the respondents said that their spouses are unemployed. 28 percent of respondents’ husbands/wives worked together on the street business. 3 percent of the respondents’ husbands/wives were engaged in agriculture, while 2 percent of the respondents were engaged in business and students.

Therefore, most of those who did not have any job holders in the family were involved in the street business. It not only increases the income of their family, but also involves them in economic activities and the income becomes the main source of household expenses.

6. Duration of Engagement in Street Business

Among the respondents who are doing business on the street, 12 percent started their business less than 1 year ago. 29 percent of the respondents said that they started their business 1 to 2 years ago. 33 percent of respondents said they started 2 to 5 years ago. 26 percent of the respondents had started their business 5 years ago. Looking at this, it seems that the old street vendors are not able to do business sustainably. Of course, the statistics also show that street vendors need to flee in a short period of time.

7. Reasons for engaging Street Business
Most of the respondents said that they are involved in street business due to lack of other employment opportunities. 80 percent of the respondents said that they do business on the street due to lack of employment opportunities.

11 percent of the respondents said that they are involved in the street business because it requires less capital and 9 percent of the respondents said that it is more profitable. As 80% of the respondents cited lack of employment opportunities as the reason for engaging in street business, it is clear that street business have created a way of self-employment. When the state and private sector are not able to create enough jobs, street vendors provide self-employment opportunities.

8. Time spent on business

Among the respondents, 58% were engaged in street business for more than 10 hours daily. 33% said that they spend 7 to 10 hours on business every day. Only 9% of the respondents spent 6 hours daily. According to the statistics, most of the street vendors spend most of their working time in the street business.

9. Time of Trading
95 percent of the respondents said that they are always involved in business. 5 percent of the respondents said that they engage in business only for a few months seasonally, including selling roasted corn, selling ice cream, etc.

10. Street business Selling Goods and Services
42% of the respondents were selling vegetables and fruits on the street. 23 percent of the respondents were dealing in sweets, snacks and other food items. 19 percent of respondents said that they are selling retail goods and 9 percent are selling fancy clothes. 7% of the respondents were selling other goods such as ice cream, juice, corn, etc.

11. Manpower working on footpaths
71% of the respondents were working solo. 29% of the respondents involved their family members in the business along with them.

12. Purchase of Goods for business
92% of the respondents said that they buy the material from the local market. 2 percent said they buy from markets outside Surkhet and 2% said they sell self-produced goods. 4 percent of the respondents said they sometimes sell self produced goods and sometimes sell retail goods (others). Buying and selling goods from the local market also increases the activity of the local market.

13. Place of Doing Business
71% of the respondents said that they conduct their business in the same place. Remaining 24% of respondents said that they keep changing their place of business. Most of them said that the municipality and the police had removed them and hence they changed the place of business. Some said that they change the place according to where there are more customers.

14. Main problems in street business
63% of the respondents said that they face the major problem of getting a proper location to operate their business. 19% of respondents face the major problem of being chased away by the municipality. 8% of the respondents face the major problem of being abused by the police and 4% had major problems with low volumes of business. 6% of the respondents said all of these are major problems. According to the data, the major problem faced by most of the street vendors is the lack of suitable and safe space.

15. Treatment by Municipalities to street vendors
38% of the respondents said that Birendranagar Municipality does not care about them. 36% said that they were treated badly. 26% of the respondents said that they receive so-so treatment. No one who participated in this survey said that the municipality treats them well.

16. Monthly income from street business
Among the street vendors, 7% of the respondents said that they earn more than 25,000 per month, while 47% said that they earn between 15,000 to 25,000 per month. 44% of the respondents said that they earn between Rs 10,000 to 15,000 per month. 2% of the respondents said that they earn between 5 to 10 thousand per month. It seems that they are making a considerable amount of income from the street business.

17. Expectations from Municipalities
Most of the street vendors have requested the municipality to separate appropriate places to conduct their business. 79% demanded proper space management, while 16% demanded that Birendranagar municipality should create a law for street business management. 5% of the respondents demanded both legislation and location management. Therefore, it seems necessary for the municipality to create a law so that the street vendors can conduct their business without additional hassels.

18. Suffer/torture by any government agency or person while carrying on business

67% of the respondents said that they get harassed while doing street business. 33% said that no one bothered them. 87% of the harassed respondents said that the police were the ones to harass them. Another 13 percent said that the batuwa, vehicle drivers, etc. gave them trouble. Since the municipality mobilized the police to evict the street vendors, it seems that the police gave the most pain to the street vendors.

(This article is prepared on the basis of the study done by Hriti Foundation on ‘Situation of Street Vendor in Birendranagar: Policy Obstacles and Remedy of the Solutions’. Five articles will be published in this series.)

Street Businesses Management in Birendranagar : Street businesses are helping hands for poor people (Part 1)

Street Business: Problem or Opportunity for Self Employment? (Part 2)

Street Businesses Management in Birendranagar : National/International Efforts for Street Vendors(Part 3)