Odisha seeks changes in Govt's scheme for maternity benefits

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Odisha seeks changes in Govt's scheme for maternity benefits

Saturday, 26 May 2018 | PNS | BHUBANESWAR

Inflexibility in the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) has resulted in non-implementation of the flagship programme of the Government of India in Odisha.

The implementing agencies are facing critical issues with the PMMVY, which is a new maternity benefit scheme introduced by the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development (MWCD) in 2017.

So, rolling out the PMMVY in Odisha has not been successful, for which the State Government has brought to the notice of the Union Government the need to bring about changes and make the programme more flexible for the people so that they receive benefits.

In fact, the PMMVY is on the same lines as Odisha’s flagship scheme MAMATA being implemented since 2011.

The MAMATA is a conditional cash transfer scheme to provide financial incentives to pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Under the MAMATA, every pregnant woman gets incentive of Rs 5,000 in two instalments provided she fulfils certain conditions vital for her welfare such as antenatal checkups, institutional delivery, postnatal checkups, full immunisation, etc.

A pregnant woman is eligible for this incentive for her first two live births. Further, in case of Primitive Tribal Groups (PVTGs), they are eligible for birth of all children.

The amount is transferred through online payment in two instalments to the bank account of the beneficiary. Odisha has been successfully operating this popular scheme which as on date has covered more than 31 lakh beneficiaries.

Against this background, introduction of the PMMVY in its current form requires several modifications, pointed out a senior State Government official. While the PMMVY is currently given only for first live birth, it should cover two live births, said the officer.

PMMVY funds, as per instructions of the MWCD, are received and kept in ESCROW Account which does not yield interest as in a Current Account. So, this should be immediately changed to Savings Account so that interest gets accrued, said the official.

The PMMVY software is still stabilising at the MWCD level. Embedding of lGD (local Government Directory) Codes is still to be completed for Odisha by a technical team at the Government of India level.

Currently out of the 72,587 Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) in Odisha, only 58,190 have been embedded. Another list of 5,153 AWCs has been re-sent to the MWCD recently.

Thus, 5,153 plus balance 9,244 AWCs are yet to be embedded. Only after this can the PMMVY be rolled out in the State, said official sources.

In the PMMVY, an Aadhaar card of the husband is made mandatory. If the aim is to protect and nurture women through pregnancy and childbirth then this clause should be removed or made non-mandatory, the State Government has urged.

Else, the very vulnerable group of young unwed mothers, though in small numbers, would receive no support under the PMMVY, pointed out a senior officer in the State Department of Women & Child Development.

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