On Tuesday, the Supreme Court directed all States to ensure that one nation, one ration card scheme should be implemented. This would enable migrant workers to get ration benefits from anywhere in the country by 31st July.
The Apex Court also passed a host of other directions for the benefit and welfare of migrant workers:-
These directions are as follows:-
- The Court directed the Centre to develop a portal with consultation with the National Informatics Centre for registering unorganised migrants/labourers. The Court directed that the States and UTs complete portal registration under the National database of unorganised workers and implement it by 31.07.2021. Registration of unorganised labourers and migrant workers should be completed 31.12.2021. States and UTs should cooperate with the Central government to ensure that all welfare schemes and benefits reach unorganised labourers and migrant workers.
- It was stated that the Centre has undertaken to distribute additional food grains which UTs and States had demanded to distribute to the migrant labour force. The Court directed the Department of Food and Public Distribution and the Centre to distribute and allocate foodgrains as per the demand of UTs and States so ration could be distributed to migrant workers.
- The State should bring in schemes to distribute dry rations to migrant workers, and it is open for States to ask for additional food grains from migrant workers. The State should consider bringing in a Scheme that may be implemented on or before 31st July, and this scheme shall continue till the current pandemic ends.
- The States that have not implemented the one nation, one ration card scheme should implement it by 31st July. The Centre exercise powers u/s 9 of the National Food Security Act to reassess the total number of people covered in urban and rural areas of the State.
- All States and UTs must register and licenses and establishments under the Act of 1979 to ensure that statutory duties of contractors to give details of migrant workers is complied with.
- UTs and States should run community kitchens at prominent places where migrant workers who don’t have resources can have two meals a day. These kitchens should run till the current pandemic is over.
This order was passed by a Bench of Hon’ble Justice MR Shah and Hon’ble Justice Ashok Bhushan in a suo motu case titled ‘ In Re Problems and Miseries of Migrant Labourers’. With the directions mentioned above, the Bench disposed of the instant case.