Implement one-nation, one ration card scheme by July 31: SC to Centre

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said all state governments must implement one nation, one ration card scheme by July 31.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan passed a slew of directions to the Centre and state governments for the benefit of the migrant workers. The top court directed all state governments to implement the one nation, one ration card scheme, which allows migrant workers to avail ration benefits from any part of the country, by July 31.

The top court directed the Centre to develop a national portal in consultation with NIC to register unorganized and migrant workers by July 31. The top court directed the state governments to frame schemes for the distribution of food grains to those who don’t have ration cards and asked the Centre to allocate food grains as per the demands of the state governments.

The top court directed the distribution of dry ration and community kitchen, providing succor to the needy, to continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The top court order came on an application by activists Harsh Mander, Anjali Bhardwaj, and Jagdeep Chhokar, through advocate Prashant Bhushan, seeking directions to ensure that migrant workers are not deprived of ration and food security, and they should also be able to travel back to their homes at nominal cost. The application was filed in the suo motu case initiated by the top court last year to address the migrant labourer crisis during the national lockdown.

During the hearing, the top court said, its main concern is that benefits that are meant for migrant workers must reach them and stressed the process of their registration is woefully slow. The top court said the Centre and state governments must expedite registration of migrant workers and also those working in the unorganized sectors.

On June 11, the top court while reserving the judgment in the matter had asked the West Bengal government to immediately implement the one nation, one ration card scheme.

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