Supreme Court directs all states, UTs to implement 'One Nation, One Ration Card' scheme by July 31
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed all states and Union territories to implement the 'One Nation, One Ration Card' scheme by July 31, reported news agency PTI. The top court has also issued a slew of directions, asking the central government to distribute dry ration among migrant workers free of charge until the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) situation subsides.
The One Nation, One Ration Card programme is a national platform that digitises ration cards, details of beneficiaries, the monthly quota of ration under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, and allows withdrawals through electronic point of sale machines, thereby allowing the mobility of ration benefits. India provides cheap foodgrains to nearly 800 million beneficiaries across the country under the NFSA 2013.
The Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice MR Shah issued the directions to the central government on Tuesday in relation to the welfare of unorganised sector workers who were one of the groups worst-hit by the second wave of Covid-19.
The apex court was hearing a petition in this regard, which sought directions to the central and state governments to ensure food security, cash transfers and other welfare measures for migrant workers who faced distress due to curfews and lockdowns in various parts of the country. The plea was filed by activists Anjali Bharadwaj, Harsh Mander, and Jagdeep Chhokar.
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The central government must enlist the help of the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to develop a portal that will contain a database for the registration of unorganised sector workers, the court directed, adding that this process will smoothen the process to grant benefits of welfare schemes to these workers by July 31.
Moreover, states and union territories must organise community kitchens for migrant workers till the pandemic situation subsides, the Supreme Court directed. It asked the Centre to keep allocating food grains to the states and Union territories for distribution among migrant workers for free till the pandemic situation exists.