Cabinet approves Pan-India implementation of Maternity Benefit Program

Barsaba Taglieri
Mag 19, 2017

The Cabinet today approved the maternity benefit programme.

While Goyal maintained that the scheme was for the women having their first child, he added the pilot scheme was applicable for "the first two live births". The Indian Express had in February reported how the meagre budget allocation of Rs 2,700 crore for the scheme, meant to bring down the maternal mortality rate, was a precursor to the government's plan to cover one live birth, instead of two.

Pregnant women and lactating mothers are eligible to receive a cash benefit of ₹5,000 in three instalments through direct benefit transfer from the women and child development ministry.

The Prime Minister in his address to the nation on December 31, 2016 had announced Pan-India implementation of Maternity Benefit Program.

"A pregnant or lactating woman having her first child will get up to Rs 6,000".

"The government should concentrate on good, quality care for pregnant women and make available the benefts to every woman who reaches a government health care centre", said Tania Sheshadri, an independent community health researcher who works with rural women in Karnataka. The Cabinet nod now extends the scheme to all the districts in the country. It was launched by the women and child development (WCD) ministry in 2010. The committee had then suggested earmarking Rs 14,512 crore for implementation of MBP.

Women women eligible for the scheme will get Rs 5,000 in three instalments - Rs 1,000 during early registration of pregnancy, Rs 2,000 after six months of pregnancy and 2,000 when child birth is registered and the child is vaccinated.

Activist, Aparajita Gogoi, national coordinator of White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, an advocacy group for maternal health and childbirth, criticised the move.

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