HE Supreme Court Tuesday directed all states that have not implemented the ‘one nation one ration scheme’ to do so by July 31, 2021.
It also directed the Central Government to develop a portal in consultation with the National Informatics Centre (NIC) for the registration of unorganized labourers and migrant workers.
“The process of the portal for registration under National Data Base for Unorganised Workers (NDUW Project) as well as implement the same, which by all means may commence not later than July 31”, the court directed.
It added that the process of registration of unorganized labourers and migrant workers would have to be completed at the earliest, but not later than December 31 this year.
It also directed that community kitchens continue to provide food to migrant workers till the pandemic is over.
The court asked state governments to formulate a scheme to provide rations to migrant workers till the pandemic is on even as the central government was told to allocate grains to states for the schemes.
The court also told the Centre to undertake an exercise under Section 9 of the National Food Security Act, 2013 to re-determine the total number of persons to be covered under rural and urban areas of each state.
Besides, the court ordered all the states and Union Territories to register all establishments and license all contractors under the ‘Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979’ and ensure that the statutory duty imposed on the contractors to give particulars of migrant workers is fully complied with
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah passed the order.
In the midst of the second wave of Covid19, activists Anjali Bhardwaj, Harsh Mander and Jagdeep Chhokar approached the court, by way of an application, seeking relief for migrant workers in the suo motu proceedings of the top court that were launched in 2020 during the first wave.
Subsequently, two more organizations namely- Sarva Hara Jan Andolan and Angmehnati Kashtakari Sangarsh Samiti represented by senior advocates Anand Grover and Indira Jaising, filed applications in the court to ask all states to implement the One Nation One Ration Card scheme forthwith. Besides, they urged the court to encourage community kitchens across all states with food grains and cooking supplies provided free of cost by the Central Government to state governments for distribution to community kitchens run by NGOs and charitable organisations or by municipal corporations.
In their written submission, Grover also said the National Data Base for Unorganised Workers(NDBUW) should be put in place at the earliest. Both the organization had represented the workers. (Click here to read the written submission.)
In its order interim, the Court in May directed that stranded migrant workers across the country should be provided dry ration under the Atma Nirbhar Scheme or any other scheme that is found suitable by the states or Central government.
It also directed all the states and union territories to make community kitchens operational for the stranded migrant workers, stating that it was their duty to do so given the workers had lost their employment and could not afford two meals a day.