Two civil society organizations, in the wake of the financial ruin in the COVID-19 pandemic, have moved the Supreme Court for food security and registration of the vulnerable migrant workers.
The applicants, Sarva Hara Jan Andolan and Angmehnati Kashtakari Sangharsh Samiti, have proposed for the Atmanirbhar Bharat Scheme to be resumed for distribution of food grains free of cost to migrant workers without ration cards till December 2021. The applicants made these recommendations through a written submission made in a suo moto case for migrant workers before the Supreme Court.
They suggested that the free food grains should be provided to State Governments instead of requiring them to purchase grains through the OMSS from the Food Corporation of India. They also said that the One Nation One Ration Card Scheme should be implemented so that the 11 states and 8 union territories, which are yet to implement it, do so forthwith.
The applicants believe community kitchens should be encouraged across all states with food grains and cooking supplies be provided free of cost by the central government to state governments, for distribution to community kitchens run by NGOs and charitable organizations or by Municipal Corporations. They added that the procedure for distribution of food grains should be transparent and schemes should be widely publicized by the state governments as per modalities that will work efficiently.
Moreover, the organizations suggested that no criteria should be stipulated to exclude migrants on the ground that they are not stranded. The food security measures should be extended to all migrant workers currently working or residing in states they are not domiciled in due to the precariousness of their living conditions.
Furthermore, they proposed that the Workers Facilitation Centres should be constituted under “Unorganized Workers” Social Security, Act, 2008 at the block level throughout all states, or where unorganized workers are largely concentrated. At these Workers Facilitation Centres, the migrant workers can be made aware of the schemes available to assist them, and can be offered legal assistance along with offline registration of workers under the welfare Acts.