The Supreme Court on Tuesday stated the “One Nation, One Ration” policy for migrant workers must be implemented by all states by July 31, adding that the state governments “must pursue community kitchens to feed the migrants till the end of the pandemic”.
A Board of Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah directed that states should bring a stratagem to improvise dry ration to migrant workers. It also instructed the Centre to create a web portal in consultation with the National Informatics Centre to enlist unorganised and migrant workers by July 31, 2021.
The decree was passed in a suo motu case concerning welfare of migrant workers in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Reformer Harsh Mander, Anjali Bhardwaj and Jagdeep Chhokar had moved an urgent plea before the Supreme Court seeking instructions to confirm the migrant and stranded labourers are not destituted of ration and food security and are able to travel back to their homes at budget cost.
The applicants stated even though states have been enforcing decentralised curfews and lockdowns more considerately this year, “they have proffered little welfare support to working classes and migrants whose livelihoods are bewildered once again”.
“This has sparked a second emigration of migrant workers who are flocking train and bus terminals in urban centres in a direction to recoup home,” the application stated, as reported by Bar & Bench.
The supplication documented in the 2020 suo motu case sought instructions to the Central government to restore its scheme of providing dry rations under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat policy to all 8 crore migrant labourers who are not secured under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) or State PDS cards and were recognised under the said scheme last year.
The top court took strong note of the delay in the evolution of software meant to enlist workers of the unorganised sector. It had also requested the Centre how the benefit of free food grain till November this year under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna’ would be shipped to migrant labourers having no ration cards.