In a first, Kerala to provide free ration to migrant labourers
As per the State Planning Board statistics, there were around 6.5 lakh migrant labourers in Kerala in 2011 with the number estimated to have risen threefold in 12 years.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a first in India, the Kerala government has decided to issue Ration Rights Cards (RRCs) to migrant workers in the state to help them procure essentials like rice for free. Under the programme, the workers have been divided into three categories: Those having an Aadhaar card and ration card issued in their home state, those having an Aadhaar card but no ration card, and those who do not have either card.
Civil Supplies Minister G R Anil will inaugurate the distribution function in Perumbavoor, which has the largest population of migrant labourers in the state, at 7 AM on Monday. Those in the first category will be issued the cards in the first phase. Families and individuals in this category will get 5kg of rice upon producing the RRC. The RRCs will have a write-up about migrants’ rights to have ration.
The cards will be printed in Bengali, Assamese, Odiya, Hindi and Tamil. It has also been decided that civil supplies, police and revenue department officials will issue RRCs through a counter in Perumbavoor town on the first day of each month.
As per the State Planning Board statistics, there were around 6.5 lakh migrant labourers in Kerala in 2011. The number is estimated to have risen threefold in 12 years. “The decision to issue free ration to migrant labourers is a very good move,” George Bruno, the chairperson of Progressive Workers Organisation which works for the rights of migrant workers in the unorganised, told TNIE.
“The migrant workers do not get jobs daily. They spend 20 to 30 per cent of their income on food. The cards will be very helpful for them,” George said. In the second phase, the Revenue Department, with the aid of the police, will identify labourers in the third category – those with no Aadhaar or ration card – and facilitate steps to issue them. Those having Aadhaar cards but no ration cards will be issued priority household cards.