Provide ration, meals to migrants, Supreme Court tells states [25.5.2021]

25.5.2021, Tuesday

The Supreme Court on Monday told states that stranded migrants across the country must be given free dry ration and cooked food through community kitchens, in directions that sought to reduce the problems faced by unorganised sector workers rendered jobless during Covid lockdowns.
The directives were, in effect, an extension to all states of the instructions given by the top court to the National Capital Region states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana for migrants stranded in and around NCR.

States will be free to either utilise the foodgrain received under the Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme, or provide them under any state-specific scheme. “We direct that migrant workers wherever stranded throughout the country should be provided the dry ration under the Atmanirbhar Scheme or any other scheme found suitable by the States/Centre,” the bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah said.

On providing cooked food, the bench directed the states and Union territories to open sufficient community kitchens for migrant workers. “There shall be wide publicity with respect to the various schemes including the places of community kitchens so that such needy persons may in fact take benefits,” the bench said.
The orders came in a suo moto proceeding initiated by the top court in the light of problems faced by migrants across the country,

The Court also identified the slow registration of workers in the unorganised sector as a major implementation flaw in schemes for their benefit. It pointed out that the Union labour ministry was working for well over a year on a National Database for Unorganised Workers (NDUW), which would include migrant and construction workers. “We are of the view that for accessing of any benefit percolating from any scheme framed by the Centre or the states for the benefit of unorganised workers or migrant workers, registration of workers is essential, which registration shall facilitate the unorganized workers to assess the scheme and reap the benefit,” the bench observed.

25 May 2021