Unpardonable: SC slams Centre for delay on portal for migrant workers’ registration


The Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed the Centre for having a lackadaisical approach in developing a portal for registration of the unorganized or migrant workers, to avail benefits from various government schemes.

A bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and M.R. Shah said: “When the unorganized workers are waiting for registration and are waiting to reap the benefit of various welfare schemes of the States and Centre, the apathy and lackadaisical attitude by the Ministry of Labour and Employment is unpardonable.”

The bench emphasized that only after registration of the workers, states and Centre will be able to extend the benefits of the welfare schemes to them. “Prior to that unless the registration is complete, tall claims by all the States and Union that they have implemented various welfare schemes for the migrant workers and unorganized workers remain only on paper without giving any benefit to unorganized workers,” noted the bench.

The top court pointed out that there was urgency in the portal to be finalized and implemented looking at the pandemic and dire need of unorganized workers to receive the benefit. “The attitude of Ministry of Labour and Employment in not completing the module even though directed as early as on 21.08.2018 shows that Ministry is not alive to the concern of the migrant workers and the non-action of the Ministry is strongly disapproved”, added the bench.

The bench directed the secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment to ensure that National Data Base for Unorganised Workers (NDUW) portal is finalized, and implementation of the portal commences on or before July 31. The bench stressed that to provide access to the migrant workers to different schemes of state government and Centre, registration is a must.

The top court directed the Centre to develop the portal in consultation with National Informatics Centre (NIC) for registration of the unorganized labourers/migrant workers.

“We also impress upon and direct that the Central Government as well as the respective States and the Union Territories to complete the process of Portal for registration under National Data Base for Unorganised Workers (NDUW Project) as well as implement the same, which by all means may commence not later than July 31”, said the top court, emphasizing that registration process should be completed before December 31, 2021.

The top court order came in the suo moto case — problems and miseries of migrant workers.