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NEW DELHI : A key report by the parliamentary panel on home affairs has put the focus back on migrant workers by recommending that a “tracking and monitoring mechanism" be set up for their movement to ensure better relief disbursement.

Migrant workers were among those most affected during the lockdown imposed earlier this year to control the spread of covid-19, the panel said. Hence, it called for the need to allow inter-state operability of ration cards until the One Nation One Ration Card plan is implemented.

The recommendations of the parliamentary panel come against the backdrop of the Union government’s estimate of more than 10 million migrant workers going to their home states from March to June this year.

The panel’s report has highlighted the need for better mapping of the movement of migrant workers and a national database at the earliest to ensure that gaps in delivery systems are plugged.

“The absence of tracking and monitoring mechanisms" makes it difficult for both central and state governments to track the intra and inter-state movement of migrant workers and distribute adequate quantities of foodgrain from public distribution scheme (PDS) shops on time, the panel said, taking note of the central government’s move to provide additional foodgrain for distribution under PDS.

“The committee recommends that the ministry of home affairs should coordinate with the central ministries concerned and the governments of states and Union territories (UTs) and create a tracking and monitoring mechanism linking all the states and UTs so that the movement of migrant workers can be tracked on a real-time basis and states can offtake the required rations/supplies from the central board, FCI (Food Corporation of India) godowns accordingly, without any delay," the panel said.

The report, which is titled Management of covid-19 pandemic and related issues, was submitted by panel chief and senior Congress lawmaker Anand Sharma to Rajya Sabha chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday. The report also talks about how a national database of migrant workers will help provide for food, shelter and other basic facilities during pandemics.

In September, the labour ministry had in a written reply in Parliament said that the government is creating a national database of the unorganized workforce, including migrant labourers, and will seed their profiles with a 12-digit Aadhaar number to provide them social security coverage.

The move is considered a first-of-its-kind database to help map informal workers.

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