With the lockdown restrictions relaxed and migrant labourers gradually returning to their workplaces, the government has started planning how to ensure food security for them.
Union Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey has held a round of meetings via video conference with states and Union in the last week of June and first week of July for effective implementation of the One Nation, One Ration Card system in “districts/cities/towns which are the major recipient or senders of migratory beneficiaries”.
“There have been two meetings with 8-10 states which receive high numbers of migrants; and states which send a large number of migrant labourers,” said a source at the Department of Food and Public Distribution.
The government had planned to implement the One Nation One Ration Card system across the country around December-January, but a source said the department is now prioritising the major migrant recipient and sender districts and plans to expedite the implementation there.
As of July 19, at least 20 states have come on board the One Nation, One Ration card platform, while 3 others are expected to see its implementation by August 10. In the rest of the states, it is expected to be rolled out by the end of this year.
Last month, the department had asked States and Union Territories to share the list of at least the top five districts that are major recipients of migrant labourers. In a letter to 20 states and Union Territories on June 17, it said, “It is observed that despite integration of a large number of States/UTs into a single cluster, the monthly volume of national/inter-state portability transactions have not picked up so far.”
“It is therefore requested that States/UTs may undertake exercise to identify and share the following information with this Department: identify up to top-5 districts which are major recipients of such migratory labourers/ workers from other states/UTs,” the letter said.
“Similarly, up to top-5 districts, which are major senders of such labourers/workers to other states/UTs may also be identified. Contact details (phone numbers and email IDs) of DMs/ADMs/DCs of these districts may also be shared,” the letter added.
According to sources, Gujarat and Karnataka have already shared the information asked for.
The department has also sought information about the “Number of approx. migrants” who moved into the state or the Union Territory as “seasonal/temporary work/employment purpose” and long-term employment-related reasons.
The Food Ministry has also asked all states and Union Territories to operationalise the toll-free helpline number ‘14445’ for One Nation, One Ration Card scheme.
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