The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked states and Union territories to implement the “One Nation, One Ration card” (ONORC) scheme by July 31 even as it pulled up the Centre over “unpardonable delay” in registration of migrant workers.

The “One Nation, One Ration card” scheme allows migrant workers to get ration at the place of their work in other states as well where their ration cards are not registered.

Taking note of the delay in development of software meant to register workers of the unorganised sector to create a national database, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to complete the process by July 31 with the help of the National Informatics Centre (NIC).

“When unorganised workers are waiting to reap the benefit of various welfare schemes of the states and Centre, the apathy and lackadaisical attitude by the Ministry of Labour and Employment is unpardonable,” said a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah said.

“Unless the registration is complete, tall claims by all the states and the Union that they have implemented various welfare schemes for the migrant workers and unorganised workers remain only on paper,” the Supreme Court said.

It also asked the states and UTs to register all contractors as soon as possible and ensure registration of workers.

The bench also issued a slew of directions to the Centre and state governments relating to the welfare of migrant workers affected due to Covid-19.

The Supreme Court also directed state governments to provide dry ration and continue community kitchens for migrant workers till the pandemic continues.

The bench also asked the Centre to keep allocating food grains to the states for distribution among migrant workers for free till the pandemic situation exists.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by activists seeking directions to the Centre and states to ensure food security, cash transfers, transport facilities and other welfare measures for the migrant workers. The PIL was filed by activists Anjali Bharadwaj, Harsh Mander and Jagdeep Chhokar.


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