New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to consider the feasibility of implementing the 'one nation, one ration card' scheme, which allows economically weaker sections to avail subsidised food grains, during the ongoing nationwide lockdown. The Centre was scheduled to launch this scheme in June this year.
A bench, headed by Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices S.K. Kaul and B.R. Gavai said: "We direct the Union of India to consider whether it is feasible for it to implement the said scheme at this stage or not and take appropriate decision in this regard keeping in view the present circumstances."
With this direction, the court disposed of the petition filed by advocate Reepak Kansal seeking directions from the top court on the early launching of the scheme, which would substantially benefit migrant workers and other people stranded at various places in the country due to the nationwide lockdown.
The top court observed that the issue raised in the petition, under Article 32 of the Constitution, relates to one nation one ration card scheme, framed by the Centre, which was supposed to start from June. The petitioner argued that in view of the pandemic of Covid-19, this scheme should be implemented forthwith to benefit the migrant workers.
The petition said that it seeks the court's indulgence to protect and safeguard the rights of migrant labourers/beneficiaries and citizens of states and Union Territories to get their entitlement of subsidized foodgrain and benefits of the government scheme, which should be introduced during the epidemic of coronavirus. "The concerned authorities temporarily adopt one nation one umbrella policy during the epidemic of corona due to absence of 'one nation, one rashan card'," it said.
The plea also sought direction to authorities concerned to ensure migrant labourers, who are in rented accommodation or transit camps, do not go hungry in the absence of any identity cards.