The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed states and union territories to implement the 'one nation, one ration card scheme' till July 31, while asking the Centre to provide dry ration for free distribution among migrant workers till the COVID-19 situation continues.
A bench of justices Ashok Bhushan and M R Shah issued a slew of directions on a plea of three activists seeking directions to the Centre and states to ensure food security, cash transfers and other welfare measures for migrant workers who faced distress again due to curfews and lockdowns in various parts of country during the second wave of COVID-19.
The apex court also asked the Central government to develop a portal in consultation with NIC to register unorganised and migrant workers and complete the portal and commence process not later than July 31, 2021.
It also directed the states, union territories to run community kitchens for migrant workers till the pandemic situation continues in respective states.
It asked the Centre to keep allocating food grains to the states, union territories for distribution among migrant workers for free till the pandemic situation exists.
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 migrant labourer crisis during the national lockdown.