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Modi government halves spending on maternity benefit programme

By PTI Updated: May 18, 2017 9:50 pm

New Delhi, May 18 (PTI): The Modi government on Wednesday virtually halved the number of beneficiaries under its Maternity Benefit Programme (MBP) by restricting the scheme to firstborns instead of ‘first two live births’ as applicable earlier.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a televised address on new year eve last year, announced pan-India expansion of the existing Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana, which was being implemented across 56 districts on a pilot-basis since 2010.
“The most vulnerable women who are trying to reach out to the government aid won’t be able to get it. In most parts of the country there is a two child norm and a scheme like this will not benefit most women.
“The government should concentrate on good, quality care for pregnant women and make available the benefts to every woman who reaches a government health care centre,” said Tania Sheshadri, an independent community health researcher who works with rural women in Karnataka.
The amount granted to the women and child development ministry for the programme is a fifth of what was recommended in the report of the Standing Committee on Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution in January, 2013. The committee had then suggested earmarking Rs. 14,512 crore for implementation of MBP.
“Reducing the scheme to firstborns will deprive many mothers from getting the benefits of the welfare scheme,” she said.

By PTI Updated: May 18, 2017 9:50:34 pm