Expressing displeasure over a national database of unorganised workers still not being ready despite its orders, the Supreme Court on Friday said that the relevant portal cannot be put on hold forever when Rs 417 crore was disbursed for setting it up.
It also said that all states must implement one-nation-one-ration card scheme which allowed migrant workers to take ration from any place other than the registered one.
A bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice MR Shah asked solicitor general Tushar Mehta to explain why the central government was taking so long to set up the portal.
“What is your project for National Database of Unorganised Workers? Rs 417 crore has been released but not even a module is created. How much time will you take? Process has not even started,” it asked while reserving its order in the suo motu case on difficulties faced by migrant workers in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns that have followed.
“This can’t be left to bureaucracy anymore. Your officers have done nothing. Just because your directors etc don’t have time, this can’t be put on hold forever,” the bench said.
Explaining why National Information Commission may take three or four months to prepare the portal, the solicitor general and additional solicitor general Aishwarya Bhati submitted that the portal will be a “self sustaining, self serving” platform that will work like a grid that that will be linked to databases on daily wagers that states have prepared.
They argued that the central government’s portal on daily wagers will not merely be a list of workers, but will ensure that those registered will be able to access government scheme benefits through it.