The top court also questioned the Centre for not preparing a National Database of Unorganised Workers despite its orders.
The Supreme Court has asked all states and union territories to implement the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme for migrant workers by July 31. The apex court also asked the state governments to run community kitchens to feed the migrants till the end of the Covid-19 pandemic. It ordered the central government to allocate additional food grains to states for the purpose. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah was hearing a plea filed by activists seeking directions to the Centre and states regarding food security, cash transfers and other welfare measures for migrant workers. Issuing a slew of directives during the hearing, the top court ordered that states should bring a scheme to provide dry ration to migrant workers.
The court also directed the central government to develop a website in consultation with the National Informatics Centre to register unorganised and migrant workers. The bench passed the orders in a suo motu case concerning the welfare of migrant workers.
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The top court also questioned the Centre for not preparing a National Database of Unorganised Workers despite its orders. The court expressed its displeasure saying that while Rs 417 crore has been disbursed for making the database, the work has been going at a snail’s pace.
Representing the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that it would take the National Informatics Centre (NIC) another three to four months to prepare the Database. To this, the court noted that it should take a shorter time since it is just a module.
The applicants in the case had contended that the states have offered little welfare support to migrants forcing the second wave of exodus this year.
The case was filed in 2020 seeking directions to the central government for providing dry rations under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat scheme to around 8 crore migrant labourers who are not covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).