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Centre renames maternity benefit scheme, adds Pradhan Mantri to it

Government sources say the name of the scheme, which was cleared by the Union cabinet last week, was changed to make it more appealing.

india Updated: May 24, 2017 22:19 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta
Maternity scheme,Matritva Sahyog Yojana,Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana
Pregnant and lactating mothers get Rs 6,000 to for the first live birth under the Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana.(HT File)

The Centre has renamed the Matritva Sahyog Yojana - a scheme under which pregnant and lactating mothers get Rs 6,000 for the first live birth - as Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) in yet another instance of the Prime Minister’s name being prefixed to a government programme.

Government sources said the name of the scheme, which was cleared by the Union cabinet last week, was changed to make it more appealing.

“The earlier name did not ring a bell. Many targeted beneficiaries were not even aware,” said a senior government official.

This is the second time that the scheme’s name has been changed. When it was launched in 2010 by the Union women and child development ministry, it was called the Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana. After coming to power in 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government dropped “Indira Gandhi” from the scheme.

PMMVY is the latest scheme to be renamed. Since 2014, over a dozen schemes have been launched or re-launched across ministries that have been prefixed with Pradhan Mantri.

These include the PM Dhan Yojana, PM Awas Yojana, PM Jeevan Jyoti Yojana, PM Mudra Yojana, PM Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, PM Gram Sinchai Yojana, PM Suraksha Bima Yojana, PM Fasal Bima Yojana, PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, PM Khanij Kshetra Yojana, PM Kaushal Vikas Yojana among others.

The BJP’s political adversaries have accused the ruling dispensation of centralising everything around Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who remains the party’s most popular face.

The saffron party, however, said Pradhan Mantri is a “neutral term” and is connected with development.

“Unlike UPA era when programs were named after the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, the BJP led NDA government has mostly done away with the practice. Instead of naming schemes after some person, they are using Pradhan Mantri, which is a neutral term. The idea is to project the PM as the face associated with development,” said a senior BJP leader.

It is a similar strategy that the BJP has used in a string of state assembly elections in the last 3 years.

“Be it Bihar or the recent Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand polls, the party did not project a CM face. In the recent state assembly elections, for instance, the campaign revolved around PM Narendra Modi and his style of development oriented, corruption free governance. And the strategy worked,” said another BJP leader, who did not want to be named.

First Published: May 24, 2017 16:17 IST