Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced pan-India expansion of Maternity Benefit Programme (MBP) to benefit pregnant and lactating mothers across the country. The announcement was made by the Modi in his address to the nation on 31 December 2016.
The expanded programme will come into force on 1 January 2017.
About Maternity Benefit Programme
The programme was formulated by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development as per the provisions of Section 4(b) of National Food Security Act, 2013.
The cash incentive of Rs 6000 is payable in three instalments for the first two live births.
The conditional cash transfer scheme provides cash incentives to pregnant and lactating women
• For the wage loss so that the woman can take adequate rest before and after delivery
• To improve her health and nutrition during the period of pregnancy and lactation
• To breastfeed the child during the first six months of the birth
It is applicable to all pregnant women and lactating mothers (PW&LM), excluding the Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers who are in regular employment with the Central Government or State Governments or Public Sector Undertakings or those who are in receipt of similar benefits from the government.
What is the significance of the programme?
• A woman’s nutritional status has important implications for her health as well as the health and development of her children.
• An under-nourished mother almost inevitably gives birth to a low birth-weight baby.
• When poor nutrition starts in-utero, it extends throughout the life cycle, particularly in women.
• Owing to economic and social distress many women continue to work to earn a living for their family right up to the last days of their pregnancy.
• Furthermore, they resume working soon after childbirth, even though their bodies might not permit it.
• In order to address these concerns, the Union Government formulated the Maternity Benefit Programme to address nutritional needs of vulnerable communities.