The Planning Commission of India is considering a proposal to enable the government to pay Rs 4,000 each to 13.8 lakh pregnant women and lactating mothers if the women are willing to go for regular health check-ups during their pregnancies and ensure timely vaccinations for the new born child.
The women and child development ministry that wants to pilot the Indira Gandhi Matritya Sahyog Yojana made a presentation to the Commission last week, to explain its Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme.
The ministry proposes to kick off the scheme as a pilot project initially in 52 districts to ensure that no pregnant woman is constrained to work till nth minute or return to work soon after the birth of her child for financial reasons.
"We have schemes that cover girls till the age of 19, but we were concerned about women who are compelled to work through pregnancy and soon after delivery. This will also bridge the inter-generational gaps in nutrition programmes and provide incentives to women to stay healthy and have healthy babies," WCD Minister Krishna Tirath told HT.
Women working for the Centre, for state governments, and Public Sector Undertakings, will not be eligible as they get paid maternity leave and are covered under other schemes. All other women above the age of 19 in the 52 districts will be eligible irrespective of financial status.
There are, however, some conditions. The first installment of R1500 will be paid at the end of the second trimester of pregnancy. The condition: she will have to register her pregnancy within four months of conception at a Anganwadi Centre or Health Centre and have completed at least one Ante-Natal Checkup.
In addition the woman needs to have attended at least one counselling session at the village health centre.
For the second installment of Rs 1,500 which will be given three months after the child is born, the mother needs to ensure the birth is registered.
In addition, she needs to ensure that the child after birth gets the necessary vaccinations. The mother also needs to have attended at least two Growth Monitoring and Infant and Young Child Feeding counselling sessions within three months of the child's birth.
The last installment of Rs 1,000 will be paid when the child is six months old, only if the mother certifies that the child has been breastfed.
Sources said the ministry was ready to start the scheme but it will need clearance from the Planning Commission before it could be sent to the Cabinet.