Plea In Supreme Court Seeks To Resume Social And Food Security Schemes For Migrants, Transport Facility To return Home


first_imgTop StoriesPlea In Supreme Court Seeks To Resume Social And Food Security Schemes For Migrants, Transport Facility To return Home Mehal Jain29 April 2021 6:57 AMShare This – xThe Supreme Court has been moved in an application for a direction to the UOI to resume its schemes of providing dry rations to all 8 crore migrant labourers/stranded or needy persons who are not covered under the National Food Security Act or State PDS cards.It is prayed that the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat package and the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana schemes of last year are reinstated and the persons identified under them last year be extended the benefits for such time that the Disaster Management Act is in force, by issuance of COVID ration cards.Advertisement Activists Anjali Bhardwaj, Harsh Mander and Jagdep Chokkar, who had filed a PIL before the court last year drawing its attention to the plight of the migrant workers amid the lockdown, have filed this application in the apex court’s suo motu proceedings of last year on the issue of migrant labourers.The plea points out that the top court had in its order of last year noted that “newspaper report and media reports have been continuously showing the unfortunate and miserable conditions of migrant labourers walking on-foot and cycles from long distances”. The order observed that in the lockdown situation in the entire country, this section needs succor and help by the Central and State governments in a coordinated manner.The applicants submit that the problems and miseries faced by migrant workers during the lockdown in 2020 have persisted over the past year due to the continued economic distress and now have got aggravated on account of fresh restrictions curfews and lockdowns being imposed in many States to control the spread of COVID. Migrant workers are again bearing the brunt of these policies and urgent intervention is required to address the following issues:Advertisement (i) Loss of livelihood and means of income on account of the restrictions and lockdowns resulting in people being unable to pay for basic needs like food, rent, etc.(ii) Lack of proper arrangement for safe and free travel back to their hometowns and villages when lockdowns are announced.The applicants seek to bring to the notice of the Court the continuing hardship being faced by the migrant worker community in light of the new restrictions and curfews/lockdowns imposed by state governments to curb the spread of the second wave of COVID-l9 in India.Advertisement Advertisement “The new restrictions and curfews/lockdowns imposed by governments to curb the spread of the second wave of COVID-l9 has caused immense distress in the lives of the economically vulnerable sections of society, especially migrant workers”, it is urged.It is pointed out that across several states, migrant workers, having lost their means of livelihood on account of the restrictions imposed, are unable to sustain themselves and there is large scale distress migration back to their hometowns. No proper relief measures to mitigate the economic hardships being faced by migrant workers have been announced when the lockdowns were put in place leading to a preca-rious situation. The loss of livelihood and means of income is causing food insecurity among migrant workers and their families.Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement The plea also seeks a direction to the Central and the State governments to provide free cooked food through networks of community kitchens, hunger relief and feeding centres especially at places where distressed migrant workers are congregating such as industrial areas, homeless shelters, bus stations, train stations and other areas to ensure no one remains hungry.Following are the other prayers in the application:(i) Direct the UOI and state governments to furnish details of the social and food security schemes put in place and the plans formulated under the Disaster Management Act for providing relief to migrant works on account of the adversities suffered due to the lockdown restrictions and curfews being imposed in different states.(ii) Direct the Central and State governments to provide transport by buses and rails at nominal fare while ensuring adherence to COVID protocols to migrant workers across the country who are desirous of returning to their hometowns and villages, including by providing special trains as required; (iii) Direct the Central and the State governments to jointly and severally ensure cash transfers equivalent to the notified minimum wage of different states to all migrant workers for the period that economic activity is adversely impacted by lockdowns/restrictions to compensate for the loss of livelihood and income.(iv) Direct the UOI and state governments to place in the public domain details of the social and food security schemes put in place for providing relief to migrant works and ensure wide publicity to the same in such form, manner and language that it is accessible to affected people and also put in place effective and time-bound grievance redressal mechanisms including by way of help-lines to redress problems being faced by migrant workers regarding food shortage, transport issues, problems in accessing government schemes etc.TagsMigrant Labours Supreme Court National Food Security Act Anjali Bhardwaj Harsh Mander Jagdep Chokkar Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. 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