Missing mothers: Large chunk of intended beneficiaries falling through the scheme for pregnant women

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Published: November 25, 2019 1:44:44 AM

PMMVY is provided to the beneficiary in three installments on the basis of meeting fixed criteria—at least one ante-natal check-up, early registration of pregnancy, and child birth registration.

However, it was found that PMMVY failed to reach around 49% of all women who would have had their first delivery—researchers estimated a total of 123 lakh for 2017. (Representational image)However, it was found that PMMVY failed to reach around 49% of all women who would have had their first delivery—researchers estimated a total of 123 lakh for 2017. (Representational image)

An analysis of government data on the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), which supports lactating mothers and pregnant women via cash transfers of Rs 6,000, revealed through RTI, shows that, between April 2018 and July 2019, around 61% of beneficiaries who registered under the scheme—38.3 lakh out of 62.8 lakh enrolments—received the total amount. However, it was found that PMMVY failed to reach around 49% of all women who would have had their first delivery—researchers estimated a total of 123 lakh for 2017. The scheme, then, ended up benefiting only 31% of the originally intended beneficiaries. This data highlights the dire straits maternal care in the country is in .

PMMVY is provided to the beneficiary in three installments on the basis of meeting fixed criteria—at least one ante-natal check-up, early registration of pregnancy, and child birth registration. The scheme is highly beneficial for women who miss out on wages due to pregnancy, especially for daily wage workers. As the data shows, the scheme has not been able to do justice in its implementation phase, and the reasons for it can be understood by a recent survey carried out by economists Jean Dreze, Anmol Somanchi, and Ritika Khera. The reasons include lack of awareness amongst women who are rightful beneficiaries of the scheme. Another factor is the fact that the application form in itself is a tedious 23-page long one, and a lot of documents are needed. Also, there are issues of the spelling of names on the Aadhaar not matching that on the bank passbook. Nor does the scheme take into account single women and unmarried women—one of the documents needed is a husband’s Aadhaar card. Therefore, the scheme leaves out unmarried mothers. The government must address this issue at the earliest, and make the registration process more women-centric.

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