Skip to main content

Just 1% of targeted Indian women "receive" maternal benefit under Modi's aadhaar-linked Matru Vandana project

By Our Representative
A year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that the government would provide maternity benefit of Rs 6,000, under the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), which succeeded the previous UPA government’s Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY), just about 1% of the targeted beneficiaries have so far been covered under the much-trumpeted scheme.
Revealing this, well-known Belgian-born Indian developmental economist Jean Deze, known to be a close associate of Nobel laureate Amarya Sen, has said in a blog that while RGMSY has been “discontinued”, the PMMVY has been “held up by a series of delays”, and, “according to a recent statement of the ministry of women and child development, only 10,000 women have received maternity benefits under PMMVY so far.”
Modi’s announcement, made on December 31, “possibly aimed at sweetening the demonetisation pill”, however, failed to mention is that the maternity entitlements of Rs 6,000 per child, which he referred to, was only “a legal right of all Indian women since 2013 under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), and that his government had done nothing about it”, Dreze writes.
“The finance ministry made a modest allocation of Rs 2,700 crore for maternity benefits in the 2017-18 Budget – a fraction of what is required for universal coverage as per NFSA norms”, says Dreze, who is visiting professor at Ranchi University and honorary professor at the Delhi School of Economics, adding, this was followed by the women and child development ministry designing the new scheme for this purpose, which came to known as IGMY. “Workshops were organised, guidelines prepared and software developed.”
Jean Dreze
“PMMVY involves a blatantly illegal dilution of women’s rights under NFSA”, Dreze says, adding, “Not only are the benefits conditional, as with IGMSY, they are also restricted to one child per woman. In fact, they are restricted to the first living child. This means that any woman who already has a child today is excluded from PMMVY.”
Calling it “illegal”, Dreze says, “NFSA clearly says that ‘every pregnant and lactating mother’ is entitled to maternity benefits of Rs 6,000”, adding, though the Act also states that maternity benefits are “subject to such schemes as may be framed by the Central Government”, but surely “that is not a licence to dilute the legal rights enshrined in the Act.”
In an affidavit to the Supreme Court, the Government of India admitted on April 3, 2017 that “all the pregnant women and lactating mothers would be given Rs 6,000 in instalments” (except those already covered in the formal sector), with retrospective effect from January 1, 2017. “Nothing of the sort is happening under PMMVY”, insists Dreze.
Pointing out that “an extraordinary gesture of stinginess” PMMVY is reducing the benefits from Rs 6,000 to Rs 5,000 per child, that too contingent on aadhaar, Dreze says, this is happening at a time when the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), under which pregnant women currently receive cash incentives for institutional deliveries, “is due to be phased out.” He adds, “Aadhaar is mandatory at every step – not only the mother’s Aadhaar, but also her husband’s (every mother is presumed to have one)”.
“At every step, the main concern seems to be to save money”, says Dreze, adding, “With benefits … subject to a host of conditionalities, the government is all set to minimise the cost of PMMVY. Mothers and children, for their part, will continue to be deprived of the barest economic support in their time of need.”

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Liberating Bengal Hindus? Worst flames of communal division, lessons from the past

By Shamsul Islam*  The whole thrust of the RSS-BJP election campaign for 2021 state assembly elections in West Bengal has been to save Bengal from the rule of Mamata Bannerjee who is allegedly not a ‘Hindu’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, as usual set the polarizing agenda. While addressing the first election rally, he called upon the electorate to overthrow the ‘nirmam’ (cruel) rule of Mamata by showing a ‘Ram Card’. He did not name Hindus directly but there was no confusion about the religious identity of the electorate Indian PM was addressing to.

Pradeep Bhattacharya, who spent his life for the cause of working masses, rational thinking

By YS Gill*  At 11:30 pm on May 3, 2021, I lost my best friend and comrade Pradeep Bhattacharya. He spent his life dedicated to the cause of the working masses and rational thinking. A person of thorough scientific outlook and a well-read student of Marxian thought, he was a walking encyclopedia and could speak on a wide variety of topics from art and culture to science, philosophy, history and politics.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Rs 5 crore 'demand' for India Today anchor: What about 52 lesser souls who died in April?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  A well known Hindutva protagonist masquerading as journalist passed away recently resulting in messages of condolences and tribute right from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to progressive liberals expressing grief of his untimely death. It is said that he passed away due to cardiac arrest, though the fact is, he was also Covid infected. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister termed him a ‘brave’ journalist, insisting, his passing away has left a big ‘vacuum’.

Modi's Hindutva 'ensuring' empowerment of rich, disenfranchisement of poor

Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The Hindutva socio-psychopaths are neither nationalists nor patriotic people. These medieval reactionary forces don’t understand the idea of citizenship, justice, liberty, equality and humanism. Indian democracy is merely an electoral transaction for the Hindutva forces. Hindutva forces neither follow science nor understand the sufferings of fellow human beings. These core qualities are common among the Hindutva forces in India.

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

India's Covid-19 'nightmare': A product of majoritarian Hindutva ideological praxis?

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Indians struggle to find place and time to bury their dead due to the devastating effects of the second wave of Covid-19 in India. The crematoriums in the capital cities are overflowing with dead bodies. People are dying without oxygen and basic medical support. The cities like Delhi and Mumbai are struggling to cope with the rising number of infections and COVID-19 led deaths. The deaths and destitutions are products of a defunct BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

Despite crisis, Modi's Hindutva strategy 'increased' mass base in society and polity

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Narendra Modi and his RSS brethren can qualify as masters of fake claims. There is a long lists of lies spread by RSS, BJP and their IT cell workers. It is not a personality disorder or lying with fear. They are trained to defend Modi and his government’s decisions in whatever possible way. They defended demonetisation by arguing that it is “an important step” in his fight against black money and corruption.

Indian media persons collapsing to Covid disease as fast as 3 per day, third highest

Yogesh Sharma, Shailesh Rawal  By Our Representative  The Switzerland based media rights and safety body, Press Emblem Campaign ( PEC ) has said that it is “alarming for Indian journalists”, who have lost at least 107 colleagues to Covid-19”, noting, Indian “journo-colleagues” have been collapsing to the Covid-19 complications now as fast as three scribes per day. In a statement, PEC said, “India with 107 media corona-casualties has already placed itself on the third position just below Brazil (181 dead) and Peru (140) in the list of Covid-19 victims among journalist.”