The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday directed all the State and Union Territory to implement the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme till July 31.
The apex court also ordered the Centre to provide dry ration for free distribution among migrant workers till the situation eases.
The bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice MR Shah directed states and UTs to register all establishments and contractors under the Inter-state Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service Act) 1979. The state governments and the UT administrations shall bring a scheme to provide dry ration to migrant workers by July 31 and such a scheme will remain till COVID situation continues the court ordered.
The apex court was hearing a petition filed by activists Anjali Bharadwaj, Harsh Mander, and Jagdeep Chhokar which sought directions to the central and state governments to ensure food security, cash transfers and other welfare measures for migrant workers who faced distress due to curfews and lockdowns in various parts of the country.
The bench said the ration scheme is for welfare of poor citizens as it allows migrant workers to get ration at the place of their work in other states as well where their ration cards are not registered.
The bench also directed the Centre to develop a portal with the help of the National Informatics Centre (NIC) for registration of unorganised sector workers for granting them the benefits of welfare schemes by July 31. The activists said in their plea that the problems faced by migrant workers during the lockdown in 2020 have continued over the past year due economic distress, and have now with fresh restrictions, curfews and lockdown being imposed in many states to control the spread of Covid people are facing problems.