- The Union Cabinet has given its approval to Pan-India implementation of Maternity Benefit Program which now has been extended to all districts of the country.
About Maternity benefit scheme
- It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme and the cost sharing between Centre and States is 60:40 for all the States and UTs (with legislature), 90:10 for NER and Himalayan States and 100% GoI share for UTs without legislatures.
- Ministry of Women and Child Development, in accordance with the provisions of Section 4(b) of National Food Security Act, formulated a scheme for pregnant and lactating mothers called Maternity Benefit Programme – a conditional cash transfer scheme.
- The Scheme provides cash incentives to pregnant and lactating women (i) for the wage loss so that the woman can take adequate rest before and after delivery; (ii) to improve her health and nutrition during the period of pregnancy and lactation; and (iii) to breastfeed the child during the first six months of the birth, which is very vital for the development of the child.
- Under the scheme, all Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM), excluding the Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers who are in regular employment with the Central Government or State Governments or Public Sector Undertakings or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law for the time being are eligible.
The cash incentive of Rs.6,000/- is payable in three instalments for the first two live births at the following stages:
- First instalment (in first trimester of pregnancy- 3,000/-) : Early Registration of Pregnancy, preferably within first three months and Received one antenatal check-up.
- Second instalment (500/-): At the time of institutional delivery.
- Third instalment (3 months after delivery, 1,500/-) Child birth is registered, Child has received BCG vaccination and Child has received OPV and DPT-1 & 2.
- India’s maternal and infant mortality indicators are very poor. Every third woman is undernourished and every second woman is anaemic, government statistics show.
- An undernourished woman would likely give birth to a low-weight baby. As per the UN Millennium Development Goals Report 2014, India recorded the highest number of maternal deaths in the preceding year, and accounted for 17% of global deaths due to pregnancy- and childbirth-related complications (some 50,000 of 2.89 lakh such deaths worldwide).
- Less than 40% of births in India are institutional deliveries. Data from the Registrar General of India, Sample Registration System (RGI-SRS) show a recent decline in Maternal Mortality Ratios (MMR) — from 212 per 100,000 live births in 2007-09 to 167 per 100,000 live births in 2011-13 — but there’s a long way to go still. The Infant Mortality Rate is 40 per 1,000 live births, according to SRS 2011-13.
- This programme will ensure that every woman attains optimal nutritional status – especially from the most vulnerable communities as nutrition constitutes the foundation for human development.
- This is all the more important during the period of pregnancy and lactation coupled with wage loss.
- A woman’s nutritional status has important implications for her health as well as the health and development of her children.
- An under-nourished mother almost inevitably gives birth to a low birth weight baby. When poor nutrition starts in-utero, it extends throughout the life cycle, particularly in women. Owing to economic and social distress many women continue to work to earn a living for their family right upto the last days of their pregnancy.
- Furthermore, they resume working soon after childbirth, even through their bodies might not permit it, thus preventing their bodies from fully recovering on one hand, and also impending their ability to exclusively breastfeed their young infant in the first six months.
- Expansion of MBP will have huge impact on the PW&LM as it will not only provide them compensation for the wage loss but will also provide them adequate nutrition and rest before and after delivery. Mothers will have sufficient time to breastfeed the child during first six months of the birth. Resultantly, it is expected that it will reduce mother mortality rate, IMR, under-nutrition and its adverse effects.