The Supreme Court said on Friday that states and Union territories must implement the One Nation, One Ration Card (ONORC) program because it allows migrant workers to obtain rations at their place of residence. work in other states as well where their ration cards are not registered.
The Supreme Court also took note of the delay in developing software to register workers in the unorganized sector to create a national database and asked the Center about the benefits of free food grains until November. of this year under the ” Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna ” would reach migrant workers without ration cards.
A vacation bench made up of judges Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah also reserved its verdict on a new demand filed by activists – Anjali Bharadwaj, Harsh Mander and Jagdeep Chhokar – asking for instructions from the Center and the states to ensure food security, the money transfers, means of transport and other social protection measures for migrant workers on the grounds that they are in urgent need of help as the crisis is more severe this time around.
The judiciary has called on the Center, activist petitioners and states to file written notes on the matter.
The request was filed in the pending 2020 suo motu case on the issue of problems faced by migrant workers due to restrictions imposed in the country amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.
During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Center, said states like Delhi, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Assam had yet to implement the One Nation, One ration card “(ONORC).
Delhi’s lawyer, however, opposed the bid, saying it was implemented.
When the West Bengal lawyer told him there were some issues with the seeding with Aadhaar’s numbers, the bench retaliated by saying, “You have to implement it. It is for the good- be migrant workers who can get rations in every state “.
The bench said it was concerned about how these migrant workers, who do not have ration cards, might benefit from the benefits of social assistance schemes.
“What about registering workers in unorganized sectors. Why should software development take so long. You might have launched it in August of last year and this? is still not finished, ”asked Attorney General Aishwarya Bhati, who was also appearing. for the Center.
The bench asked why the Center still needed a few months to create the software that can help prepare a national worker data.
“Why do you still need three or four months. You don’t do any surveys – but you just create a module so that the data can go to your mechanism,” he observed.
The mechanism, which is in the process of being manufactured, will be “robust” and this would help the authorities to “follow and supervise” the regimes.
“Why will it take so many months. You are only preparing software to create the national database,” observed the bench.
At the start, senior lawyer Dushyant Dave, representing the activists, said welfare programs must be extended to anyone without ration cards because the problems this year are more serious.
In response, the Solicitor General indicated that the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna has been extended until November of this year and that five kilograms of free food grains per month will be provided to each member of these families and that, in addition, the other social assistance schemes need to be formulated and implemented by states.