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The National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) was set up in 2004 by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government as an advisory body and a watchdog for the informal sector. That same year, the Prime Minister’s Office asked the NCEUS to examine the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors. The policy’s objective was to provide urban street vendors with a supportive environment in which they can earn their livelihoods. After consulting various stakeholders, the Commission recommended a revision of the policy’s implementation mechanisms.
The NCEUS noted that the urban poor in most Indian cities worked in the informal sector because of a lack of jobs in rural areas, few employment opportunities in the formal sector, and low levels of education that restricted access to better-paying jobs. As unorganised sector workers, street vendors did not have government-assisted social security.