Skip to main content

Modi scheme "deprives" entitlement to 57% pregnant women; 95% working in informal sector not to get maternal benefit

By Our Representative
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-publicized Pradhan Mantri Matru Vendana Yojana (PMMVY), “launched” last year, will deprive entitlement to 57% of needy pregnant mothers. Revealing this, India’s well-known advocacy group, Right to Food Campaign (RFC) has said this is the direct consequence of restriction imposed to providing benefit to “to only the first birth”.
Calling the conditionality “fundamentally discriminatory to the most marginalized and vulnerable women from socially discriminated communities such as scheduled castes and tribes (SCs and STs) and minorities, putting their lives at risk”, RFC says the Sample Registration System report on fertility indicators show that only “43% of the current live births in India are first order births”.
Insisting that “maternity entitlements are a critical tool to fight malnutrition and infant and maternal mortality”, RFC says, the failure to provide entitlement to such a big number of pregnant women has come about after a series of Government of India steps to undermine the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013.
PMMVY, which is the direct successor of the Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY), initiated by the UPA government, interestingly, provides just Rs 5,000 to pregnant women, as against Rs 6,000, which came into effect after the NFSA, 2013 was passed.
Yet another step taken to undermine maternal benefit to pregnant women, says RFC, was the amended Maternity Benefits Act (MBA), which, even while expanding maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks, “covers only about 18 lakh women in the organised sector, whereas over 2.3 crore deliveries take place in India each year.”
“The MBA does not include in its ambit more than 95% of women in the country who work in the informal sector”, RFC complains, adding, “It is unacceptable that a wage compensation of less than half of minimum wages, that too only for one birth, should be the norm for the rest of women under the PMMVY.”
“In fact”, says the top advocacy group, “The modest maternity entitlement under the PMMVY is barely equivalent to five weeks of minimum wages in Bihar (compared to the more than 6 months of paid leave offered in the formal sector)”, adding, “With the PMMVY, the government has squandered the opportunity created by the NFSA, 2013.”
Demanding that not only should the Government of India create a situation under which the negative PMMVY changes should be reversed, RFC wants that the budgetary allocation be “expanded from Rs 2,700 crore to at least Rs. 8,000 crores – 60 per cent of Rs 13,000 crore, the amount necessary to meet the NFSA (assuming a birth rate of 19 per thousand and an effective coverage of 90%).”
RFC’s demand comes amidst the 2015-16 National Family Health Survey (NFHS) pointing out that India’s infant mortality rate is 41 deaths per 1,000 live births. Worse, it says, “World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics show that 174 out of 100,000 Indian women die in childbirth, compared with 23 and 44 out of 100,000 in countries like China and Brazil.”
Endorsed by other civil rights groups such as National Federation of Indian Women, the National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights, Nazdeek and Sahyog, the statement comes close on the heels of RFC telling media, quoting official data, that as of today only 96,000 women out of the 53 lakh beneficiaries have been identified received maternity entitlements.

Comments

TRENDING

AMR: A gathering storm that threatens a century of progress in medicine

By Bobby Ramakant*  A strategic roundtable on “Charting a new path forward for global action against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)” was organised at the 77th World Health Assembly or WHA (WHA is the apex decision-making body of the World Health Organization – WHO, which is attended by all countries that are part of the WHO – a United Nations health agency). AMR is among the top-10 global health threats “Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a growing and urgent crisis which is already a leading cause of untimely deaths globally. More than 2 people die of AMR every single minute,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO. “AMR threatens to unwind centuries of progress in human health, animal health, and other sectors.”

New Odia CM's tribal heritage 'sets him apart' from Hindutva Brahminical norms

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Mohan Charan Majhi took the oath as the new Chief Minister of Odisha following the electoral defeat of the BJD led by Naveen Patnaik, who served as Chief Minister for twenty-four years. The new Chief Minister is the son of a security guard and a four-time MLA who hails from the remote village of Raikala in the Keonjhar district. He belongs to the Santali tribe and comes from a working-class family. Such achievements and political mobilities are possible only in a democratic society. Majhi’s leadership even in the form of symbolic representation in a democracy deserves celebration.

What stops Kavach? Why no time to focus on common trains meant for common people?

By Atanu Roy  A goods train rammed into Kanchenjunga Express on 17th June morning in North Bengal. This could have been averted if the time tested anti-collision system (Kavach) was in place. 

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

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".

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Saving farmers and consumers from GM crops and food: Philippines court shows the way

By Bharat Dogra*  At a time when there is increasing concern that powerful GM crop lobbyists backed by enormous resources of giant multinational companies may be able to bulldoze food safety and environmental concerns while pushing GM crops, a new hope has appeared in the form of a court decision from the Philippines. 

Top Punjab Maoist who failed to analyse caste question, promoted economism

By Harsh Thakor*  On June 15th we commemorated the 15th death anniversary of Harbhajan Singh Sohi or HBS, a well known Communist leader in Punjab. He expired of a heart attack in Bathinda in 2009.