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

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India among heavily impacted by Covid-19, China 'notoriously' evading transparency

By NS Venkataraman* With the year 2020 inevitably ending in the next few weeks, the thought amongst the people all over the world is whether the coming year 2021 will be free of Covid-19 (often dubbed as Wuhan virus, as it known to have spread from Wuhan in China).In the early 2020, many people thought that Covid-19 would be a localized affair in China but later on, it proved to be a global pandemic.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

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".

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.

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.