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SC wants 'limited' maternity benefits

delhi Updated: Oct 24, 2007 02:04 IST
Satya Prakash
Satya Prakash
Hindustan Times
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Taking exception to the government's decision to remove the cap on the number of children for availing of maternity benefits under centrally-funded schemes, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said such schemes cannot be indefinitely funded at the cost of taxpayer's money without thinking of its impact on population problem.

"You cannot go on producing children and then make the taxpayer pay for it. We have to have some curb on population also," bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and SH Kapadia said, adding "financial aspects also need to be taken care of."

The court's observations came after the Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran submitted that Janani Suraksha Yojana replaced the 1995 National Maternity Benefit Scheme in 2005 and the condition of two-child norm had been removed. Under the old scheme there was a cap of two children and also an age bar of 19 years for BPL (below poverty line) women who would get Rs 500 12 weeks before the delivery for nutritional purposes. However, the old scheme has now merged with the JSY and the two-child norm and age bar have been done away with.