Migrant workers’ crisis: Another plea in SC, seeks ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme for them

The plea makes a case for the immediate implementation of the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme that was to be launched by the Prime Minister in June 2020

Supreme Court of India (File photo)
Supreme Court of India (File photo)
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NH Web Desk

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking the adoption of the "One Nation One Ration Card" scheme in the face of the novel Coronavirus pandemic, reports legal news website BarandBench.com.

The plea has been filed in light of the exodus of migrant labourers and the poor, who are now are in different states or in temporary shelters for the duration of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Lawyer Reepak Kansal has urged the Court to direct the government to ensure that the rights of migrant labourers to get their entitlement of subsidized food-grains and benefit schemes are protected even if they are stuck in a state other than their home state.

The plea makes a case for the immediate implementation of the "One Nation One Ration Card" scheme that was to be launched by the Prime Minister in June 2020. It states, "Due to lack of scheme of One Nation One Ration Card and another policy/circular/notification by Central Government to protect the rights of laborers/employees/small businessman/daily wagers/tourists etc, in regard to protect the lives and health of above-said section. The said section of the society has not been getting benefits of schemes of Central Government and State Governments including subsidized food grains, shelter and medical facilities (Except Corona Treatment)."

Kansal has urged the court to direct the government to have its departments adopt a One Nation One Umbrella Policy during the COVID-19 epidemic.

The plea further states that a large number of potential beneficiaries of aid, who could not reach their respective home states during the lockdown, have been facing hunger.

"The said laborers/employees are locked/remained in another States/Union Territories and not getting any benefits of government scheme including subsidized grains, food, shelter and medical facilities (Except Corona Treatment). The maximum States and Union Territories have been giving preferences to its’ respective citizens and voters and denying benefits of subsidized grains/foods/shelter/Medical facilities to said migrants laborers/employees/tourists/citizens of other states/UTs due to absence of local identity proof i.e. Rashan card/residential proof/voter card etc even during the unprecedented nationwide lockdown due to epidemic of COVID 19."

Thus, the petition contends, the government should be directed to provide food and medical aid to the said persons.

In this regard, the petitioner has argued that the rights of such migrant labourers and the poor are protected under Article 21 of the Constitution.

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