order directing the provision of dry grains to migrant workers without ration cards.CTIVISTS Harsh Mander, Anjali Bhardwaj and Jadgeep S Chookar have urged the Supreme Court to direct all states to strictly implement its
In their written submission filed in the Supreme Court, they also urged for directions to the Centre to put in place a specific scheme for providing dry rations free of cost to migrant workers. Besides migrant workers identified under the AtmaNirbhar Bharat Yojana must be provided ration, in addition to providing new or unregistered migrant workers with the opportunity to avail of dry grains; provision of dry grains to migrant workers must not be restricted to a one or two-month entitlement and must continue for atleast the next six months and a court-monitored mechanism should be set up to ensure compliance with the directions in the court’s order dated May 24, 2021.
The written submissions were filed in a suo motu case on the migrant crisis in which the court had reserved the judgement last week.
“It appears that the states of Bihar, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Goa, Assam, Maharashtra, Manipur,Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan,Telangana, Sikkim and Chandigarh have not operationalised any specific scheme during the second wave of COVID in 2021 to provide dry rations to migrant workers without ration cards”, the written note filed by the three activists has stated.
They added that these states had identified migrant workers and given rations to them last year under the AtmaNirbhar Bharat Yojana. In their affidavits, several states had indicated that if the AtmaNirbhar Bharat Yojana were to be revived for 2021, they would provide rations to migrant workers.
Besides, the activists also submitted that the Central Government had not put in place any scheme for specifically providing ration to migrant workers.
They said currently the food grain stock with the Food Corporation of India was at a record high of more than 100 million metric tonnes and therefore, there was no reason for the Centre to not make them available for a specific scheme to alleviate the distress and hunger among those in need.
‘Inter-State Migration’ falls squarely within the ambit of the Union list and is enumerated at Entry 81 in List I (Union List) in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.
ONE NATION ONE RATION (ONOR)
On the issue of one nation, one ration; the three activist have urged the court to direct the Centre to revise the state-wise quota of ration cards under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) as per 2021 population projections. They also urged that priority be given to including migrant workers under the NFSA by easing norms for obtaining a ration cards through the provision of a self-declaration in case of people without necessary documents as had also been directed by the apex court.
They also urged the court to direct the Centre to ensure no person was denied access to food on account of biometric failure or technological failure in e-POS machines by putting in place a uniform, reliable and easy to access alternatives in case of such failures.
PROVISION OF EMERGENCY CASH TRANSFERS TO MIGRANT WORKERS
On this issue, the activists urged the court to direct the Centre and state governments to jointly and severally ensure emergency cash transfers to all migrant workers identified under any scheme or law including, but not limited to,those identified under the AtmaNirbhar Bharat Yojna of 2020, under Street Vendors Act, Inter State Migrant Workmen Act to compensate for the loss of livelihood and income when economic activity was adversely impacted by the pandemic.
A mechanism must be set up to monitor compliance with directions of the court with respect to registration of unorganised sector workers and migrant workers under the various laws and databases, they urged.
Besides, they requested the court to direct states to open community kitchens in every block in rural areas and in every ward in urban areas to provide cooked food to migrant workers and to operate such kitchens for at least the next six months.
The written submissions have been filed through Advocate-on-Record Prashant Bhushan.