Has Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana Failed To Tackle The Problem?

Concerns have been raised regarding the effectiveness of the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana. Problems like the lengthy documentation process and many exclusions hampering its universal nature are overshadowed by accusations of practices of bribery at the grassroots level.

What is the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana?

The Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana is a maternity benefit schemed rechristened from the 2010 Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY). It is a conditional cash transfer scheme that aims at providing partial wage compensation to women embracing motherhood. It is to provide sufficient nutrition and medical expenses to pregnant and nursing women. A woman who isn’t already entitled to maternity benefits at state government or central government or public sector unit, and is not receiving similar benefits under some other government provision is eligible to receive Rs 6000 under this scheme, along with the Janani Suraksha Yojana.

Why is this scheme needed?

Undernutrition among women and children is a major problem in India. Undernourished mothers will give birth to undernourished children. This lack of proper development at an infant stage is irreversible, leading to a whole life cycle of malnourishment. Due to social and economic distress, women almost always work through their pregnancies, hampering their healths. They also go back to work before their body is ready for it impending their ability to recover or to breastfeed their children. This scheme prevents such a situation from arising.

How effective has the scheme been?

The scheme has reportedly failed to reach at least 49% of the mothers who have given birth to their first child. It has only managed to bring under its ambit 23% of all births and pay hardly 14% of them. On further investigation, it was found that only 66% of pregnant women and 69% of nursing mothers knew about the scheme. Sadly, only 8% of pregnant women and 23% of nursing mothers have received the benefits of the scheme.

Way Forward

From the information we have, it is clear that the two major problems of the scheme are a lack of awareness in citizens, combined with misadministration on the lower levels. The government must concentrate on an extensive publicity campaign to raise awareness about the scheme. Those in charge of distributing the scheme must be kept on a tighter leash to ensure no corruption prevents mothers from accessing benefits due to them. Healthy mothers will have healthy children and healthy children become healthy citizens. That is the future we should be working towards

Question for UPSC Mains:
With regards to Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, discuss how India needs to better care for the health of its women.

Published: January 13, 2020 | Modified:January 13, 2020

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