New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed all states and Union Territories to issue ration cards to migrant workers, who registered themselves on Centre’s eShram portals launched for their benefit, within three months.
A bench of Justices M.R. Shah and Ahsanuddin Amanullah said: “28.60 crore migrants/ unorganised workers are registered on eShram portal which is a commendable job. However, out of 28.60 crore registrants on eShram, 20.63 crores are registered on ration card data. Meaning thereby, the rest registrants on eShram are still without ration cards.”
eShram portal is meant to register and support the unorganised/migrant workers by providing them with a Universal Account Number (UAN).
The bench said without the ration card, a migrant/unorganised labourer or his family members may be deprived of the benefit of the schemes under the National Food Security Act too.
“Therefore, being a welfare state, it is the duty of the concerned State/UT to see that the remaining registrants on eShram, who are still not registered on ration card data and who are not issued the ration cards, they are issued ration cards and the exercise for issuance of ration cards is required to be expedited,” it said.
The bench said that as the Union of India and the states/UTs concerned now already have the data of the registrants on eShram portal and will be having the required information, the government should reach to them so that they can be issued the ration cards and that their names are registered on ration card data.
The top court said: “At present, we give further three months’ time to the concerned state/UT to undertake the exercise to issue ration cards to the left out registrants on eShram portal by giving wide publicity and the concerned state/UT to approach them through the office of the concerned Collector of the district so that more and more registrants on eShram portal are issued the ration cards and so that they may get the benefit of the benevolent schemes floated by the UOI and the State Government including the benefit under the National Food Security Act.”
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing activist Anjali Bharadwaj and others, submitted that approximately more than 10 crore persons are deprived of the benefit of National Food Security Act due to non-issuance of the ration cards.
In a status report, the Centre had contended that against the total target of 38,37,42,394 migrants, 28,86,23,993 migrants have already registered their names on eShram portal.