Supreme Court Slams Deadline Over ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ For Migrant Workers To July 31
In an attempt to implement the noble act of ‘one nation, one ration’ scheme, a bench of justices at the Supreme Court of India have directed related states to put it into action, keeping in mind the worst effected in the Covid-19 second wave.
Earlier as well, the migrant population had been worst effected in the Indian pandemic lockdowns. The ‘One Nation, one ration card’ scheme was actually launched in 2019 by then Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan. This card was to enable migrant workers to get cheap food grains with one ration card across the country. As per the reports of the Ministry of Home (MHA), there are 4 crore migrant workers in India.
The noble scheme was launched in four states of India. Preceding over the bench, Justice Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah have now asked these states and even the Centre to put the scheme into action. The Centre will also have to establish a web portal in consultation with National Informatics Centre to register unorganised and migrant workers by July 31, 2021.
India is bracing for impact from the third wave, though efforts are being made to vaccinate as many as possible. Strangely, the Supreme Court bench has taken a suo motu stand in this case, keeping in mind the deplorable condition of migrant workers in the first wave.
The ruling comes after activists like Harsh Mander, Anjali Bhardwaj and Jagdeep Chhokar moved an urgent application before the Supreme Court seeking directions to ensure the migrant and stranded labourers are not deprived of ration and food security and are able to travel back to their homes at nominal cost.
India has a large sizable migrant population that continues to remain unregistered with the Centre. Despite efforts being made since the previous lockdown and Covid-19 surge, migrants have been inoculated in their respective villages. Many have returned back and decided not to return to the cities in fear of their lives. Many states were urged to set up industry in their respective areas, in order to create employment opportunities for them.
In 2019-20, as many as 75 lakh workers (35 lakh by trains+40 lac by buses) had returned back to their native states. These include migrants from Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka and Gujarat. From January 2020, the one nation, one ration card scheme was to be established in eight more states brining the count to 12 in all across India.
The states included Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka,Telangana, Rajasthan, Kerala,Tripura, Haryana, and Andhra Pradesh. Those eligible to avail this scheme included Indian citizens that were proven to be below the poverty line.