At a time when the Global Hunger Index placed India at 107th place, the Supreme Court said the Centre and state governments must target elimination of hunger, even while praising their ‘excellent’ work during the pandemic to feed the poor and migrant workers.
Aishwarya Bhati was questioned about the Union and state governments' plans to ensure that the registered workers took advantage of all benefits under various welfare measures, including subsidised food grains under the "one nation, one ration card" scheme, by a bench of Justices M R Shah and Hima Kohli while taking stock of the registration of workers in the unorganised sector, who were primarily migrants.
Bhati informed the court that 282.6 million workers were registered by the Centre and states as of September 19 in the e-portal, which was 73.7% of the target. Uttar Pradesh registered 82.9 million workers against a target of 66 million, Odisha registered 13 million (102% of target) and Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and Himachal Pradesh registered more than 90% of targeted workers.
Delhi registered 62% of target workers in the unorganised sector, followed by Kerala (59%), Rajasthan (56%), Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh (both just over 50%). Low registration of unorganised workers in Maharashtra (38%), Karnataka and Tamil Nadu (both 37%), and Telangana (36%), irked the bench which said, “every time, Maharashtra is found wanting. It is not doing anything. ”
The government must "tell us how it is going to use the data collected on registration of unorganised workers through eShram portal," the Justice Shah-led bench demanded, despite the fact that the government has disputed the GHI statistics and questioned the methodology used to classify India at the dismal 107th place.