After a successful pilot, foodtech major Swiggy has expanded its street food vendors program to 125 cities. The initiative under PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi or PM SVANidhi Scheme is meant to help street vendors to grow their business which was severely hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the pilot, Swiggy has already onboarded over 300 street vendors on its platform.
In October, the Bengaluru-based firm had signed an MoU with the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs or MoHUA to bring street food vendors across the country on its platform.
According to Swiggy, it will list over 36,000 street food vendors across tier II and Tier III cities including Indore, Varanasi, Gwalior, Vadodara, Visakhapatnam, Udaipur, Lucknow and Bhilai. The SVANidhi Scheme has received loan applications from 1.47 lakh street food vendors and Swiggy will onboard 36,000 vendors in the first phase.
“Even as we go through more stages of Unlock, there has been a long-term change in consumer behaviour regarding continued social distancing and heightened demand for online services like food delivery. As a platform committed to bringing the widest choice of food to the doorsteps of consumers safely and hygienically, we’re delighted to bring them their favourite street food which they have been missing for many months now,” said Vivek Sunder, COO of Swiggy, in a press statement.
Under the scheme, all onboarded street food vendors will undergo a three-stage training programme. After the training and registration, they are required to do a self-audit and demonstrate the standards set by the government. As a part of the initiative, these street food vendors will also be helped in getting PAN and FSSAI registration, menu digitization and pricing, and training for packaging and maintaining hygiene practices.
During the announcement of the initiative, the government had set a target to benefit over 50 lakh street vendors along with providing them with a working capital loan of up to Rs 10,000, repayable via EMIs.
While the initiative is going to help millions of street food vendors who are not getting a sizeable number of orders every day, it may face headwinds with consumers’ concerns over food safety and hygiene during the ongoing pandemic.