Less than 2% beneficiaries get aid under maternity scheme
Less than two per cent of the intended beneficiaries of the government’s ambitious maternity benefit scheme have received cash incentive since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced it over a year ago.
The Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) aims at providing partial compensation for wage loss to women during their pregnancy and offers a cash incentive of Rs 6,000 to mothers for the birth of their first child.
The Union Cabinet approved the scheme in May last year after Modi, in a televised address to the nation, had in December 2016 announced that an existing pilot scheme -- Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) -- being implemented across 53 districts, would be extended across the country.
Since the Cabinet nod, payments through direct cash transfer for PMMVY have been made to 96,460 beneficiaries, which is a mere 1.8 per cent of the estimated 51.6 lakh women the government scheme aims to help annually, according to data shared by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) on Twitter.
The government has received a total of 6.4 lakh applications of beneficiaries so far.
WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi held a review meeting with NITI Aayog member V K Paul on the status of implementation of the scheme today.
Top economists of the country had written to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in December last year, flagging the delay in rolling out the scheme.
A total amount of Rs 12.2 crore has been transferred to the accounts of these beneficiaries, and a sum of Rs 2,031 crore has been sanctioned for all states and union territories, the ministry said in another tweet.
The scheme is being implemented on 60:40 cost-sharing basis with state governments and the Centre is contributing Rs 2,700 crore per year for the programme.
A ministry official said that 10,000 beneficiaries are being added to the system everyday and efforts are on to double that rate by January-end.
Therefore, it can be extrapolated that the government will be able to reach its target of over 51 lakh beneficiaries in the next six to seven months.
The official also highlighted that many states such as Tamil Nadu, Meghalaya, West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana have been slow in implementing the scheme and named them as the “worst performing states” for not registering any beneficiary.
Maharashtra and UP have been relatively better performers and have enrolled 2.4 lakh and 1.25 lakh applicants, respectively.
The official stated that the delay has been because the maternity benefit programme is the “first scheme” to be linked with the Public Finance Management System, adding that mapping villages through the local government directory (LGD) of panchayats and local bodies was a time-consuming exercise.
WCD secretary R K Shrivastava earlier told PTI that the implementation of the programme had been slow due to “initial hiccups” faced in executing a new scheme.