NEW DELHI: The Centre has told the Supreme Court that approximately 27.45 crore unorganised labourers or migrant workers have been registered on a portal developed in consultation with the National Informatics Centre (NIC) on the basis of information given by states.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Central Government, told a bench comprising Justices M R Shah and B V Nagarathna that a portal has been developed in consultation with the NIC for registration of workers.
"She has stated at the Bar that approximately 27.45 crore are registered in the portal on the basis of the information given by respective states concerned. How the Central Government and states concerned are going to take advantage and/or the benefit of the registration of the unorganised labourers/migrant workers to protect the interest of unorganised labourers/migrant workers?
"One of the object and purpose of the registration is to ensure that the benevolent schemes which are declared by the Government/Governments reach the unorganised labourers/migrant workers concerned," the apex court noted.
The ASG sought some time to place on record the compliance report.
The top court then directed the Central Government to obtain all the required information from States so that a further order can be passed to protect the interest of unorganised labourers and migrant workers.
"All States/Union Territories concerned are directed to furnish all the required particulars which are needed by the Central Government so that the Centre may file a composite report before this Court on the next date of hearing.
"Now our endeavour should be to consider the larger issue to protect the interest of the unorganised labourers/migrant workers and how their rights are to be protected. The Central Government to file a composite report in compliance of all the directions issued by this Court in the order dated 29.06.2021. All states shall cooperate and submit all the particulars which are called for," the bench said.
The matter is listed for next hearing on July 20, 2022 The apex court in April had sought compliance reports within four weeks from the Centre and states on what actions have been taken to comply with its June 2021 order to provide food and social security to migrant workers.
The top court had issued a slew of directions to authorities on a plea of three activists seeking welfare measures for migrant workers and ordered states and Union Territories (UTs) to frame schemes for providing free dry ration to them till the pandemic lasts, while the Centre will have to allocate additional foodgrains.
It had also directed states and UTs to register all establishments and license all contractors under the law and ensure that statutory duty imposed on the contractors to give particulars of migrant workers is fully complied with.
Three activists, Anjali Bharadwaj, Harsh Mander and Jagdeep Chhokar, had filed the plea seeking directions to the Centre and states to ensure food security, cash transfers and other welfare measures for migrant workers who faced distress due to curfews and lockdowns in various parts of country during the second wave of COVID-19.
The fresh plea was filed in a pending suo motu case of 2020 in which the top court in May, 2020 had taken cognisance of problems and miseries of migrant labourers and had passed a slew of directions.