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Implement ‘one nation, one ration card’ scheme for migrants till July 31: SC directs states, UTs

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date
Implement ‘one nation, one ration card’ scheme for migrants till July 31: SC directs states, UTs

New Delhi: Supreme Court of India on Tuesday (June 29) has directed every state and Union Territory to implement the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme till July 31.

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‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme for migrant workers should be implemented by all states by July 31 the Supreme Court said.

In a suo motu case, the Supreme Court said that the distribution of dry ration and community kitchen shall continue until the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. It also said that the states should frame schemes for the distribution of food grains to those who do not have ration cards. The Centre should allocate the same accordingly, the Bench also said.

The Supreme Court also directed the Centre to make national portals for registration of the unrecognised workers by July 31.

A bench of justices Ashok Bhushan and M R Shah had on June 11 reserved its judgement on pleas of activists Anjali Bharadwaj, Harsh Mander and Jagdeep Chhokar seeking the implementation of welfare measures for such workers.

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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 state governments and the UT administrations shall bring a scheme to provide dry ration to migrant workers by July 31 and such a scheme will remain till COVID situation continues, the top court said. 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.

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.

The Centre had said that while most states were implementing the ONORC, four of them — Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and West Bengal — had not done so and implementing it would depend on their technical readiness.

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The Centre later also said the AAP government’s claim regarding the launch of the ONORC plan is misleading as a large number of migrant workers are unable to take the benefit of subsidised National Food Security Act (NFSA) food grains in Delhi as there is no full implementation.

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