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Supreme Court Directs Centre To File Reply On Position Of National Database For Unorganised Workers (NDUW) In Suo Moto Migrant Workers Case

Radhika Roy
24 May 2021 8:52 AM GMT
Supreme Court Directs Centre To File Reply On Position Of National Database For Unorganised Workers (NDUW) In Suo Moto Migrant Workers Case
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The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to file a Counter-Affidavit on the position of the National Database for Unorganised Workers (NDUW) and to seek instructions as to what steps what have been taken under the new Social Security Code, 2020.A Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah were hearing the suo moto case – "In Re: Problems and Miseries of Migrant Workers" to...

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The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to file a Counter-Affidavit on the position of the National Database for Unorganised Workers (NDUW) and to seek instructions as to what steps what have been taken under the new Social Security Code, 2020.

A Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah were hearing the suo moto case – "In Re: Problems and Miseries of Migrant Workers" to address the issues that are being faced by migrant workers in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. They emphasized that the need of the hour was to ensure that the benefits were reaching the concerned needy persons, and to achieve the same, the process of registration had to be sped up.

The Court further remarked that there was a need for a supervising authority so as to ascertain whether the schemes were reaching the needy or not.

In today's hearing, Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the Intervenors, submitted that the distribution of dry ration under the Atmanirbhar Scheme had to be extended to those who did not possess ration cards. He further submitted that for cooked meals to be distributed, the ambit of distribution had to be widened.

"For cooked food, Delhi Government is saying that they are providing it at 185 places. It's a huge State. No one will go if you provide it at select places which are far away. Last time, it was provided at 5000 places. The situation is grimmer this year", submitted Bhushan.

He further informed the Bench that will transport was not a major issue, cash transfer was only being provided to construction workers, who formed a small subset of migrant workers, and therefore, it needs to be extended to rikshaw pullers, street vendors etc.

The Bench at this point observed that cash transfer required registration. They stated that despite the order requiring registration being given a year back, the process was very slow and they were not satisfied with it.

Justice Shah also noted that while contractors did not take any concrete steps to register labourers, the labourers themselves were unable to get registered due to lack of uniformity – "Registration of unorganized workers first needs to be completed. As of today, the migrants have to go for registration. What we want is that these people should go to the migrants. It should be two-way. The machinery should reach the migrants."

The Bench also noted that the State of Gujarat had stated in its Affidavit that a national databased had been started by the Ministry of Labour and Employment for unorganized workers.

At this juncture, Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta submitted that he would seek instructions on the progress of the database and its current position.

The Court also directed the SG to take instructions on whether any steps had been taken under the Social Security Code, 2020, for unorganized workers.

A short order in the matter will be uploaded by 4 PM today. The story will be updated accordingly.v

Click here to download the order


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