The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the “One Nation, One Ration" scheme for migrant workers must be implemented by all states by July 31, adding that the state governments “must run community kitchens to feed the migrants till the end of the pandemic".
A Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah ordered that states should bring a scheme to provide dry ration to migrant workers. It also directed the Centre to develop a web portal in consultation with National Informatics Centre to register unorganised and migrant workers by July 31, 2021.
The order was passed in a suo motu case concerning welfare of migrant workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Activists Harsh Mander, Anjali Bhardwaj and Jagdeep Chhokar had moved an urgent application before the Supreme Court seeking directions to ensure the migrant and stranded labourers are not deprived of ration and food security and are able to travel back to their homes at nominal cost.
The applicants said even though states have been imposing decentralised curfews and lockdowns more cautiously this year, “they have offered little welfare support to working classes and migrants whose livelihoods are at sea once again”.
“This has triggered a second exodus of migrant workers who are flocking train and bus terminals in urban centres in a bid to get back home," the application stated, as reported by Bar & Bench.
The application filed in the 2020 suo motu case sought directions to the Central government to resume its scheme of providing dry rations under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat scheme to all 8 crore migrant labourers who are not covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) or State PDS cards and were identified under the said scheme last year.
The apex court took strong note of the delay in the development of software meant to register workers of the unorganised sector. It had also asked the Centre 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.