New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed all the states and Union Territories to implement ‘one nation, one ration card scheme for migrants by July 31. The top court also ordered the Central government to provide dry ration for free distribution and that they “must run community kitchens to feed migrants till the end of the pandemic,” as per reports.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and M R Shah had on June 11 reserved its judgment on pleas of activists Anjali Bharadwaj, Harsh Mander and Jagdeep Chhokar seeking the implementation of welfare measures for migrant workers hit hard again by the curbs imposed during the second wave of Covid-19.
The bench has said the ration scheme is for welfare of poor citizens as it allows migrant workers to get ration at the place of their work in other states as well where their ration cards are not registered. The bench directed the Centre to develop a portal with the help of the National Informatics Centre (NIC) for registration of unorganised sector workers for granting them the benefits of welfare schemes by July 31. It also directed the states, UTs to run community kitchens for migrant workers till the COVID pandemic continues.
The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to allocate food grains to states and union territories for distribution among migrant workers for free till the Covid situation exists. The bench directed states and UTs to register all establishments and contractors under the Inter-state Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service Act) 1979.
It also directed The apex court has asked the states to provide day ration and continue community kitchens for migrant workers.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court also ordered the Centre and states to develop a portal with the help of the National Informatics Centre (NIC) for registration of unorganised sector workers for granting them the benefits of welfare schemes by July 31.
Earlier, the apex court took strong note of the delay in the development of software meant to register workers of unorganized sector to create a national database.
It had also posed queries to the Centre as to how the benefit of free food grain till November this year under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna’ would reach to migrant labourers having no ration cards.
On May 24, the top court had said the process of registration of unorganised workers was “very slow” and had directed authorities to provide dry ration and make operational community kitchens for migrant workers stranded throughout the country.
Referring to the resurgence of Covid-19 infections and consequent curbs, the activists have said in their plea that the problems faced by migrant workers during the lockdown in 2020 have persisted over the past year due to the continued economic distress, and have now got aggravated on account of fresh restrictions, curfews and lockdowns being imposed in many states to control the spread of Covid.