Daily News Analysis

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)

4th January, 2022 Polity

Figure 1: No Copyright Infringement Intended

Context:

  • India accounts for a fifth of the total childbirths in the world, with a decline in maternal mortality ratio.

Provisions:

  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), it is envisaged to give a benefit of Rs.5,000 to pregnant and lactating mothers for the birth of their first child.
  • This would be disbursed in three instalments upon meeting several conditionalities like— registration of pregnancy, at least one antenatal check-up, registration of childbirth and vaccinations.
  • The remaining cash incentive of up to Rs.1,000 is to be given under a separate scheme called the Janani Suraksha Yojana, so that on an “average” women get a total sum of Rs.6,000.
  • The objective is to compensate women for wage loss due to childbirth.
  • The PMMVY is a maternity benefit program introduced in 2017 and is implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • In 2013, the scheme was brought under the National Food Security Act, 2013 to implement the provision of cash maternity benefit stated in the Act.

 

Performance of the Scheme:

  • Dismal Results: The scheme's results have been poor, necessitating quick improvement.
  • Beneficiaries are excluded: The Indian government's annual estimate of the intended recipients has been stable over time. Because the goal has remained consistent throughout time, it only covers about 40% of the eligible population.
  • Expenditure Deficit: Enrollment and payouts under the plan have declined in the previous two years, according to figures published by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • Incorrect Implementation: In 2020-21, more than half of registered beneficiaries did not receive all three instalments, resulting in a 9% drop in plan participation.
  • Budget cuts: The whole budget for women's and children's development has been slashed by 20% for the years 2021-22.
  • Lengthy Documentation: A mother seeking benefits needs to provide proof of the address of her marital home, which proves challenging for a newlywed expecting a child and often residing in her natal home during pregnancy.
  • Corruption: Women have to pay a hefty bribe during the application process.

 

Way Forward:

  • Make it Universal: There is a need for reviewing the scheme and making it universal by removing restrictions on the number of children as well as including all women, whether they are in the formal or informal sector, engaged in paid or unpaid work.
  • On Par Wages: The sum promised should also be at least on par with minimum wages for women in self-employment, unpaid work, or working for less than minimum wage.
  • Increase in amount: According to the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, which mandates 12 weeks of maternity leave for women with two or more children, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should be paid Rs. 15,000 for 12 weeks of maternity leave.
  • Check the documentation: No of steps in receiving the benefits needs to be reduced to make it a hassle free process.