From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : PMMVY
Mains level : Mother and Child health related schemes
The government’s recent announcement that the maternity benefits program which provides ₹5,000 for the first child will be extended to cover the second child only if it is a girl has met with sharp criticism from activists who have demanded that it be universalized.
What is PMMVY?
- Launched in 2017, this scheme provides ₹5,000 for the birth of the first child to partially compensate a woman for the loss of wages.
- It also aims to improve the nutritional well-being of the mother and the child.
- The amount is given in three installments upon meeting certain conditions.
- It is combined with another scheme, Janani Suraksha Yojana, under which nearly ₹1,000 is given for an institutional birth so that a woman gets a total of ₹6,000.
The first transfer (at pregnancy trimester) of ₹1,000 requires the mother to:
- Register pregnancy at the Anganwadi Centre (AWC) whenever she comes to know about her conception
- Attend at least one prenatal care session and take Iron-folic acid tablets and TT1 (tetanus toxoid injection)
- Attend at least one counseling session at the AWC or healthcare centre.
The second transfer (six months of conception) of ₹2,000 requires the mother to:
- Attend at least one prenatal care session and TT2
The third transfer (three and a half months after delivery) of ₹2,000 requires the mother to:
- Register the birth
- Immunize the child with OPV and BCG at birth, at six weeks, and at 10 weeks
- Attend at least two growth monitoring sessions within three months of delivery
Additionally, the scheme requires the mother to:
- Exclusively breastfeed for six months and introduce complementary feeding as certified by the mother
- Immunize the child with OPV and DPT
- Attend at least two counselling sessions on growth monitoring and infant and child nutrition and feeding between the third and sixth months after delivery
Why in news?
- Under the revamped PMMVY under Mission Shakti, the maternity benefit amounting to ₹6000 is also to be provided for the second child.
- However, this is only in case the second is a girl child, to discourage pre-birth sex selection and promote the girl child.
Issues with this provision
- To provide maternity benefit only to the mother of the firstborn is illegal as the National Food Security Act, 2013 lays down that every pregnant woman and lactating mother are entitled to it.
- For second child as a girl, it is to promote the birth of a girl child is nothing but posturing since it penalizes the mother for not giving birth to a girl child.
- Subsequent adding of more conditions to the scheme will prove to be a bureaucratic nightmare, which can be overcome if the scheme is universalized.
- Women will be able to access the scheme only after the delivery, which will not have any impact on their nutritional uptake during the course of their pregnancy.
Before judging this factual information, take this PYQ form 2019:
Q.Which of the following statements is/are correct regarding the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017?
- Pregnant women are entitled to three months pre-delivery and three months post-delivery paid leave.
- Enterprises with creches must allow the mother a minimum of six crèche visits daily.
- Women with two children get reduced entitlements.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Post your answers here.