The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the states and union territories to provide within three months, rations cards to migrant labourers registered on the ‘e-shram’ government portal so that they can avail of benefits under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
A bench of Justices MR Shah and Ahsanuddin Amanullah said granting ration cards to migrant labourers registered on the portal be given wide publicity.
“We give further three months time to concerned States and Union Territories to issue left out ration cards and register migrants on portal. Concerned authorities to inform Collectors so more and more can take the benefit under NFSA,” the bench stated in its order and posted the matter for next on October 3, 2024.
The top court 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.
On April 17, the top court had said the Centre and State governments cannot deny ration cards to migrant workers solely on the ground that the population ratio under the NFSA has not been properly maintained.
It had observed that every citizen should benefit from welfare schemes and said that in a welfare state, it is the duty of the government to reach out to people.
In February this year, the apex court had asked the Centre and all state governments to provide information on the number of migrant workers provided with food under the NFSA, and other benefits under various government schemes after it was informed that out of nearly 38 crore migrant workers across the country, around 28 crores have been registered on an online portal e-Shram operated by the Centre.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the SC had suo motu initiated a case to consider the problems and miseries faced by migrant labourers and unorganised sector workers who were pushed to penury due to the pandemic-induced lockdown and forced to settle in their villages with no source of employment.