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States Get 3 Months To Give Ration Cards To Registered Migrant Labourers

States Get 3 Months To Give Ration Cards To Registered Migrant Labourers

The top court posted the matter for further hearing on October 3.

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Thursday granted another three months time to all states and Union territories to provide rations cards to migrant labourers registered on the e-shram portal for availing benefits of “benevolent schemes” of the government.

The top court posted the matter for further hearing on October 3 and asked the Centre to file a status report.

A bench of justices MR Shah and Ahsanuddin Amanullah said, “At present, we give further three months’ time to the concerned State/UT to undertake the exercise to issue ration cards to the left out registrants on e-Shram portal by giving wide publicity and the concerned State/UT to approach them through the office of the concerned Collector of the District, so that more and more registrants on e-Shram portal are issued the ration cards and so that they may get the benefit of the benevolent schemes floated by the UOI and the State Government including the benefit under the National Food Security Act.”

It said, “We appreciate the exercise undertaken by the UOI with the assistance of the respective States/UTs for registration of the migrants/unorganized workers on e-Shram portal.”

It noted that 28.60 crores migrants/unorganized workers are registered on e-Shram portal which is a “commendable job” but added that out of 28.60 registrants on e-Shram portal, 20.63 crores are registered on ration card data.

“Meaning thereby, the rest of the registrants on e-Shram are still without ration cards. Without the ration card a migrant/unorganized labourer or his family members may be deprived of the benefit of the schemes and may be the benefit under the National Food Security Act,” it said.

The bench said that being a welfare State, it is therefore the duty of the state/Union territory concerned to see that the remaining registrants on e-Shram, who are still not registered on ration card data and who are not issued the ration cards, they are issued ration cards and the exercise for issuance of ration cards is required to be expedited.

“As the Union of India and the concerned State/UT now already have the data of the registrants on e-Shram portal and will be having the required information, the State/UT shall reach to them so that they can be issued the ration cards and that their names are registered on ration card data,” it said.

The top court’s order came on an application filed by petitioners Anjali Bhardwaj, Harsh Mander and Jagdeep Chhokkar who had sought that ration to the migrant labourers be given irrespective of the quota of ration under the NFSA.

The bench noted the submission of advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioners, that approximately more than 10 crore people are deprived of the benefit of National Food Security Act due to non-issuance of the ration cards which as such is due to the fact that at present census of 2011 is being implemented and that after 2011 population has increased.

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Centre, said that against the total target of 38,37,42,394 migrants, 28,86,23,993 have already registered their names on e-Shram portal.

She submitted that the e-Shram portal was launched on August 26, 2021 by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, which is meant to register and support the unorganised/migrant workers by providing them with a Universal Account Number (UAN).

The government said the Ministry of Labour and Employment has developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to share e-Shram portal data with states and Union territories.

It said that approximately 3.82 crore e-Shram registrants are also found to be beneficiary under PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi.

The government submitted that the benefit of Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mann-Dhan Yojana (PM-SYM) has been given to the eligible migrants and each state has its own policies for issuance of the ration card.

The top court had earlier said migrant workers play a very vital role in building the nation and their rights cannot be ignored.

It had also asked the Centre to devise a mechanism so that they receive food grains without ration cards.

Earlier, the top court had issued a slew of directions to authorities on a plea of the three activists seeking welfare measures for migrant workers and ordered states and Union territories to frame schemes for providing free dry rations to them till the Covid pandemic lasted and said the Centre will have to allocate additional food grains.

It had also directed states and Union territories to register all establishments and license all contractors under the law and ensure that the statutory duty is imposed on the contractors to give particulars of migrant workers.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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