Not enough funds, Govt to limit maternity benefit to first child only

Sources said the details are being reworked as the Budget provision is way below the funds required for implementation of the scheme in 2017-18

Written by Shalini Nair | New Delhi | Published:February 18, 2017 6:05 am
maternity benefit scheme, modi maternity scheme, pm modi, narendra modi, maternity scheme funds, pregnant mother scheme, pregnancy scheme, maternity benefit funds, indian express news, india news, latest news Immediately after the PM’s announcement, the Ministry of Woman and Child Development had, in January, issued details of the scheme. (Express Archive Photo/Representational)

ON NEW Year’s Eve, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that all pregnant and lactating women would be given Rs 6,000 under the maternity benefit scheme. According to the existing provisions, a woman can get the financial aid for two live births. However, following the inadequate Budget provision for the scheme, the Women and Child Development Ministry is set to limit it to the birth of the first child only.

Moreover, while the Centre was earlier set to provide 60 per cent of the funds, it will now bear only 50 per cent of the cost, leaving the states to shell out the remaining amount. The Women and Child Development Ministry is currently preparing the Cabinet note for the scheme. “Following discussions with the PMO, we are in the process of preparing the Cabinet note for the implementation of the scheme. Considering the amount allotted for the scheme in the Budget, we have been told that the money should be provided to the mother only in case of the first child,” confirmed a senior ministry official.

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During his New Year’s Eve televised address, Modi had announced that the maternity benefit scheme would be extended to the entire country. The scheme, started by the UPA II government as Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahayog Yojana in October 2010, was being run on a pilot basis in 53 of the country’s 650 districts. Under the National Food Security Act 2013, the coverage was required to be made universal. Immediately after the PM’s announcement, the Ministry of Woman and Child Development had, in January, issued details of the scheme, stating that the Centre would provide 60 per cent of the funds for all pregnant and lactating women above the age of 19 years for up to two live births.

But now, sources said the details are being reworked as the Budget provision is way below the funds required for implementation of the scheme in 2017-18. The Union Budget has earmarked only Rs 2,700 crore for the scheme. At 50 per cent cost-sharing, at the rate of Rs 3,000 per beneficiary, this would cover only 90 lakh of the 2.6 crore live births every year (latest available estimates as per the home ministry’s Civil Registration System 2013).

“The Rs 2,700 crore that was finally allotted in the Budget for the scheme is much less than what the ministry had sought,” said sources. As per the government’s estimates, as stated in the report of the Standing Committee on Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (2012-13), the total annual requirement is Rs 14,512 crore. “At the rate of Rs 1,000 per month for six months, the scheme expenditure towards maternity benefits to 2.25 crore pregnant and lactating women works out to Rs 14,512 crore per annum,” said the Standing Committee report.

With the increase in the number of annual live births to 2.6 crore since then, several civil society estimates have shown that Rs 16,000 crore is required per year for the scheme. A ministry spokesperson confirmed that the cost sharing between the Centre and the state government has been changed from 60-40 to 50-50. Asked about the scheme being extended to only one child, the spokesperson said, “We are still in the process of framing the guidelines. The details will be out only once it is placed before the Cabinet and approved. As for the Budget provision covering only 90 lakh pregnant women, we can always ask for more money from the Finance Ministry later.”

According to the Sample Registration System 2011-13, Infant Mortality Rate in India is 40 per 1,000 live births and Maternal Mortality Ratio is 167 per 100,000 live births. In fact, India holds the record for the highest number of maternal deaths as per the UN Millennium Development Goals Report 2014. The maternity benefit scheme, meant to improve these indicators, releases money in three installments, provided that the woman goes in for institutional delivery and vaccinates the child. According to a study by the National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights, the existing precondition of providing the aid only for two live births and those over 19 years of age excludes more than half the women, mostly Dalits and tribals.

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  1. J
    John JOSEPH
    Feb 18, 2017 at 6:35 am
    There is only so much a government can pay when it pays lacs for crores every year after year for flying 250,000 muslims to haj and none other no Hindu no Parsi no christian no Sikh no Buddhist no one else's in a secular country every year to their holy places. All this comes from majority Hindus. Any Muslim wants to debate bring it on. I will clearly prove how we the Indians Hindus Christians Buddhists Parsi pay for Muslims.
    Reply
    1. A
      Alok
      Feb 18, 2017 at 4:02 am
      If true, this is a serious setback. Mother's age above 19 and two children criteria would lead to roughly 50% exclusion levels. If budget is limited, we should focus on districts with high burden of malnutrition
      Reply
      1. S
        Satendra kumar
        Feb 18, 2017 at 3:11 am
        The maternity scheme for birth of first child is very welcome that will help those family who are eligible for upbringing the child.
        Reply
        1. M
          MyTake
          Feb 18, 2017 at 3:46 am
          Also make first two child education free. Any more no benefit - pay personally for all!
          Reply
          1. B
            Bharat Maa
            Feb 18, 2017 at 2:48 am
            Bhakto aur bhaiyo blame Congress for it.
            Reply
            1. M
              Mohammad Bin Tughlaq
              Feb 18, 2017 at 6:03 am
              Government should rather discourage births. All our problems are due to increase in potion and food getting dearer. Everyone who had already the second child should be compulsorily sterilized. Both men and women. If any man manages to avoid it and has a third child he should be neutered without anaesthesia.
              Reply
              1. B
                bitterhoney
                Feb 18, 2017 at 2:02 am
                Modi will ruin India, he is untrustworthy. He lies to win elections.
                Reply
                1. B
                  bitterhoney
                  Feb 18, 2017 at 2:05 am
                  jald hi modi ki dukkan band hone wali hai. bachcho bajao taali.
                  Reply
                  1. K
                    Khushminder Sahasi
                    Feb 18, 2017 at 3:00 am
                    Too soon. Government is becoming bankrupt. Is it good governance. To get votes BJP showed a dream to garner young married women votes. Shame Modiji.
                    Reply
                    1. D
                      Deeply Concerned
                      Feb 18, 2017 at 3:11 am
                      Govt has gone bankrupt and the primary reason is demonetisation which strangled people and their livelihood and s across all automobiles are down by 40pc. Fk'n fool modi has destro Indian economy.
                      Reply
                      1. G
                        Govindarajan Sampath
                        Feb 18, 2017 at 5:54 am
                        Given that India's potion growth at the present rate is a recipe for diaster, the government is right in introducing an economic disincentive to having more than one child. Benefit to people from the state is not a right, but a privilege paid for by other tax payers. Countries with negative potion growth have reason to incentivize pregnancy. This situation does not obtain in India
                        Reply
                        1. H
                          harun
                          Feb 18, 2017 at 1:19 am
                          Atleast the Govt has accepted that no adequate funds allocated.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Hence for 1st child the benefit is given.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;PM Must tell us fund allocated ,how any Mothers given that 6000.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;We are yet to hear how much was given to clear Cane Farmers dues,but PM has made yet another promise in UP Saying that in 15 days it will be given after harvest.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;We are yet to hear Start Up India ,number of start ups created.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Digital India how many villages covered.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Skill India how many Kids got trained to be emplo and fund spent.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;We heard about Swach Bharat and people who built Loos are yet to get money ,while PM Says 37000 cr allocated the State Govt says money not yet received.Chattisgarh and MP are stand out cases.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Its time we are told what has been done and what remains to be done.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;PM must stop changing narratives every day and work on what he has promised before 2014
                          Reply
                          1. H
                            harun
                            Feb 18, 2017 at 4:56 am
                            Congress looted ,it was thrown out.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;If you have guts then jail them,has Amma not been.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Instead by saying Congress did it,we should not be asked qquestions is no way.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Just be transparent and not keep making Promises
                            Reply
                            1. J
                              Jemma Thomas
                              Feb 18, 2017 at 12:53 am
                              I think it is time govt link this money to Birth Control program for Muslims and Catholics.
                              Reply
                              1. L
                                Lalit Mohan
                                Feb 18, 2017 at 4:01 am
                                Muslim neither want to pay tax nor want to control their birth rate they will always have problem with these kind of provisions. Becaise their ultimate aim is to destroy Indian economy some how.
                                Reply
                                1. M
                                  Mahender Goriganti
                                  Feb 18, 2017 at 3:14 am
                                  Jihadi minded go back to your Madrah.
                                  Reply
                                  1. M
                                    Mahender Goriganti
                                    Feb 18, 2017 at 3:13 am
                                    Nothing worng and in any case we need to control unlimited potion that spend its time in Madrahs and claim they don;t have jobs or work?? !!
                                    Reply
                                    1. M
                                      Mujtaba
                                      Feb 18, 2017 at 1:03 pm
                                      Please just forget comments below instead of criticising for false promise, these troller find the way out as they were hire off, I left TOI now i believe these IE comments going same way.
                                      Reply
                                      1. P
                                        Pinna
                                        Feb 18, 2017 at 6:14 am
                                        A big blow to those who wants to increase their numbers. 1 x 4 = 16.
                                        Reply
                                        1. R
                                          Rahul
                                          Feb 18, 2017 at 4:02 am
                                          When several generations of a family sucked a country dry by looting ever since independence, where was your criticism and accusations?
                                          Reply
                                          1. R
                                            Rahul
                                            Feb 18, 2017 at 4:03 am
                                            dream on...else you will die of frustration ;)
                                            Reply
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