Updated: May 25, 2021 4:01:54 am
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre and states to complete the registration of unorganised workers, who had to return to their native villages after the Covid-induced national lockdown last year, “as early as possible” so that they “are able to reap the benefit of different” welfare schemes.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and M R Shah said that it is of the view that there “should be a common national database for all organised workers situated in different states”.
On being informed that the Ministry of Labour and Employment has already initiated the process for creating a national database for unorganised workers, the bench said that the same “should be completed at an early date” with the collaboration and coordination of states.
The court gave the Centre two weeks’ time to file an affidavit regarding the setting up of the database.
The directions came on an application filed in an already pending suo motu matter in which the court is taking note of the problems of migrant labourers during the nationwide lockdown last year.
Hearing the matter last year, the SC had asked states and Union territories to keep a record of the returning migrant labourers, including details about their skills, place of their earlier employment, etc so that the administration can extend necessary help to them. They were also directed to explore avenues to provide them employment.
The court which perused the affidavits of the Centre and states, however, expressed unhappiness over the pace of registration.
It said that though “under the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008, all States have framed the Rules and some States have also undertaken registration under the aforesaid Acts, but no State has given any details as to whether registration under the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008 is complete”.
The bench also said there should be a “suitable mechanism to monitor and supervise whether the benefits of the welfare schemes reach the beneficiaries”.
Hearing the matter on May 13, the SC had asked the Centre, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana governments to provide dry ration to migrant labourers in the National Capital Region who may be going through a difficult time in view of the lockdown. On Monday, the court directed that this be extended throughout the country.
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