Republished from The Wire.
Nearly six months after the prime minister announced maternity benefits of Rs 6,000 to pregnant and lactating mothers, the cabinet yesterday approved the implementation of the maternity benefits programme (MBP) – a scheme that will likely exclude a large majority of women in the country.
Under the scheme, pregnant women and lactating mothers will receive Rs 6,000, Rs 5,000 of which will be given in three installments, provided that certain conditions related to completion of registration of pregnancy and birth, antenatal care and immunisation are met. The scheme is also restricted to the first live birth.
In fact, the new MBP is a watered down and much delayed implementation of the commitment made under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) passed unanimously by parliament in 2013.
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