The much-hyped Mata Kaushalya Kalyan Scheme started by government under the National Rural Health Mission has virtually come to a standstill here, as the health department authorities have failed to give the promised money to women who choose to give birth at stat-run institutions. The disbursal is pending for the period January to May.
Under the scheme, meant to promote safe deliveries and thus minimise child and mother mortality rates, each mother is given Rs 1,000, along with Rs 200 as transportation charges. An additional Rs 600 and Rs 700 are for women belonging to below poverty line (BPL) families and from the reserved categories from urban and rural areas.
The fund crunch came to light when, instead of clearing the backlog, the authorities decided to provide monetary assistance to beneficiaries from May 15 onwards. Around 4,000 beneficiaries are awaiting their payments.
"I have visited the offices four times since I gave birth in February. The civil hospital authorities asked me to go to senior authorities, while officials in the health department say money will be given by the hospital concerned," said Parminder Kaur, a resident of village Ubewal.
Sources in the department said the a grant of Rs 35 lakh came in May, with special instruction to give it to beneficiaries from May onwards. "The scheme has come to a halt owing to non-availability of funds. We have already diverted around 14 lakh from funds provided under several other health schemes to this scheme, but the backlog remains," the source said.
Civil surgeon Dr HS Bali said they have already written to higher authorities to provide funds. "We have already sent file a proposing a budget to clear the balance. The state authorities have assured us that sufficient funds will be provided in coming months."