Consider launching ‘one nation, one ration card’ scheme now: SC to govt

Court gives order acting upon petition that said the scheme if implemented will help migrant labouers avail subsidized food grains, shelter and medical facilities during lockdown

The central government scheme, which would enable ration card holders to avail PDS benefits from any place in the country, is scheduled to be launched in June this year. Photo: PTI

The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to consider the feasibility of temporarily adopting the one nation, one ration card scheme during the ongoing coronavirus lockdown period to enable the migrant workers and economically weaker sections (EWS) get subsidised foodgrain.

The central government scheme is scheduled to be launched in June this year.

A bench of Justices NV Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and BR Gavai, in an order passed on Monday said, “We direct the Union of India to consider whether it is feasible for it to implement the said Scheme at this stage or not and take appropriate decision in this regard keeping in view the present circumstances.”

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The top court was hearing a plea filed by advocate Reepak Kansal, who sought the launching of the scheme, for the benefit of migrant workers, beneficiaries and citizens of other states stranded in different places due to the nationwide lockdown.

Related news: Centre should arrange for migrant workers to go home: Sena

The petitioner seeks the indulgence of this court to protect and safeguard right of migrant labourers /beneficiaries / citizens of other States/ UT/ tourists to get their entitlement of subsidized foodgrain and benefits of government scheme etc introduced during the epidemic of coronavirus and nationwide lockdown in the State / UTs even if they are not in their respective home State / Union Territory by way of a mandamus to the concerned authorities to temporarily adopt One Nation One Umbrella Policy during the epidemic of corona due to absence of scheme of One Nation One Rashan Card, the plea said.

He also sought direction to authorities for ensuring migrant labourers who are at present staying in rented premises or in transit camps do not go hungry for want of local identity cards or any identity cards.

Kansal claimed that states and Union Territories have been giving preferences to their respective citizens and voters and denying benefits of subsidised grains / foods /shelter/ medical facilities to the migrants labourers or citizens of other states/ UTs due to absence of local identity proof like ration card/residential proof or voter card even during the unprecedented nationwide lockdown due to epidemic of COVID-19.

The petitioner said the scheme will help protect the rights of migrant labourers.

Related news: Govt allows migrant labourers’ movement within state limits

“The said section of the society has not been getting benefits of schemes of central and state government including subsidized food grains, shelter and medical facilities (except Corona treatment),” the plea said.

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