In 2017, the government launched the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana aimed at providing financial assistance to pregnant women. Odisha & Telangana have not implemented this scheme since they have a similar & better state specific scheme.
In his address to the nation on the eve of New Year 2017, i.e. on 31 December 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a scheme which is aimed at providing financial assistance to pregnant women.
Accordingly, the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) scheme was formally launched on 01 September 2017, as a centrally sponsored scheme, which would be implemented across all the districts in India. The scheme was effective from 01 January 2017.
What is the purpose of implementing a Maternity Benefits Programme?
The scheme was introduced to address the following challenges;
- In India, every third woman is under nourished and every second woman is anaemic.
- Expecting mother being undernourished results in poor nutrition in-utero, which can lead to irreversible effects on the child.
- Financial and social challenges force the women to work until later period of pregnancy, causing strain which is not advisable.
- These compulsions make the women to start working soon after childbirth, which not only effects them because the body is not ready but also impacts breastfeeding thereby causing malnutrition in children.
In view of this, a Maternity Benefits Programme called ‘Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)’ was launched.
What is the PMMVY about?
Under PMMVY, an incentive of Rs. 5,000 would be credited directly into the Bank/Post Office Account of Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM) for first living child of the family. This incentive is paid out in three installments.
PMMVY is being implemented through the Anganwadi system, which is part of Ministry of Women and Child Development’s umbrella ICDS (Integrated Child Development Scheme). In those States/UTs where ICDS isn’t there, the scheme is implemented through Health & Family Welfare Department of the state government.
A web based software application supported by CDFI ( Centre for Digital Financial Inclusion) is used in the implementation of the scheme. This platform helps in the registration of the beneficiaries along with verification of the conditions for release of the payment.
The Anganwadi Centre (AWC) along with ASHA/ANM workers are the focal points in collecting the information of the beneficiaries for the scheme and getting the information updated on the web application.
What are the conditions for availing benefit under the scheme?
The incentive amount of Rs. 5,000 would be released in 3 installments after the meeting specific conditions set for each installment.
The conditions to be met for availing the benefits and the supporting documents required are specified below.
Anganwadi/ASHA workers are required to collect the forms from the beneficiaries for the respective installment claims along with the required verification documents. The information from these documents needs to be updated in the online system by them or with the assistance of government appointed data entry operators. This information is verified by the respective sanctioning officers and forwarded to State Nodal Officer who approves the application. The sanctioned amount is then transferred to the beneficiary account.
A sample timeline is provided by Ministry of Women and Child Development regarding the intervals at which benefit is extended.
More than 49 Lakhs beneficiaries received incentive since inception of the scheme
In a question asked in Lok Sabha in July 2019, a concern was raised whether the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMYY) wasviolating a tenet under National Food Security Act (NFSA). As per the NFSA, every pregnant and lactating mother is entitled to maternity benefits of not less than Rs. 6000. However, the amount being disbursed through PMMVY is only Rs. 5,000.
Answering this question in Lok Sabha on 26 July 2019, Union Minister for Women and Child Development has stated that eligible beneficiaries also receive benefits from Janani Suraksha Yojana through Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, apart from PMMVY and therefore the total benefits average out Rs. 6000 per beneficiary.
The answer also provides details of the total number of beneficiaries who benefitted from this scheme since 01 January 2017. A total of 49.58 lakh beneficiaries across India have claimed all the three installments till date. The highest number of beneficiaries are from Uttar Pradesh followed by Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
Any further details about PMMVY are available from the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ for PMMVY document by Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Odisha & Telangana have their own schemes, better than PMMVY
From the answer provided in the Lok Sabha, it is clear that the states of Odisha & Telangana are not implementing the PMMVY because they are implementing a state specific maternity benefit scheme.
In Odisha, the scheme is called ‘Mamata’ and was launched in the year 2011. In Telangana, the scheme is called KCR Kit & Amma Odi and was launched in 2017. Both the schemes are better than the central scheme PMMVY in terms of coverage & eligibility.
This is another example where certain states have formulated better schemes than those of the centre, both in terms of coverage & financial incentive. Even in the case of Ayushman Bharat, states like Telangana & Andhra Pradesh have not implemented it since the states had a similar scheme for more than 10 years that is better in terms of coverage. The Government of India needs to think of such states before launching any scheme and provide the required flexibility.
Featured Image:Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana