According to a credit Suisse’s report (2013 statistics), 84% of the jobs in India are listed as informal and they contributed to 50% of the GDP. All home-based workers, street vendors, waste pickers and informal transport workers; who meet various demands of the urban space on a daily basis, fall within this category. No legal or social protection of these informal sector workers and harassment from regulatory and enforcement authorities make things difficult for them. Competition from organized retail (chain stores & hypermarkets) and disruptive technologies (Amazon, Big basket, Grofers and Swiggy) is another growing challenge causing declining revenues of the informal workers. While there has been myriad range of projects under the mission to improve the lives of citizens within the urban space, there was enough evidence to support the need to look specifically at the informal sector.

Problem Statement

Street vendors as part of the informal workforce offers easy access to fresh vegetables and fruits at a lower price on a daily basis. While the market has evolved and demand has grown over time, the informal sector workers have found difficult to catch up with the modern retail and disruptive technologies that have come in. Besides offering products at lower cost, street vendors hold an advantage of providing much fresher produce than these suppliers. However, there are challenges for consumers in accessing street vendors across various locations. Bringing street vendors on a digital platform could integrate them into the digital space, and thereby help in improving their market reach, service delivery and the overall system performance.


Within the overarching umbrella of informal sector, this work focuses on street vendors. The aim was to enable these workers in becoming more competent by expanding their market reach and to improve the overall system performance by improving the informal sector’s service delivery. The objective was to bridge the demand-supply gap and an intervention which could bring these services on digital space was deemed fit here. To achieve this, an umbrella mobile application was envisioned which could act as an aggregator of multiple services offered by the street vendors.

Expected Outcomes

The mera thela mobile application supported by the backend admin panel is expected to bring following benefits:.  Benefit to street vendors:

  • Reach is enhanced by presence on digital platform
  • Able to locate demands better, reducing the demand-supply gap

Benefit to consumers:

  • Able to locate availability of vendor(s) as per convenience
  • Engage in traditional purchasing way of “touch and feel”
  • No surcharge involved (Delivery cost etc.)
  • Fresh and nutritious veggies available at doorstep

Other benefits:

  • Street vendor data generated can be used by governing bodies to allocate benefits related to social schemes.
  • The service providers will move towards being more organized as they can locate spatial & temporal distribution of their customers.