The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) condemns the Modi Government’s decision to limit the maternity benefit under Matrutva Sahyog Yojana to one child.

Prime Minster Narendra Modi had announced on New Year 2017 eve that his government is going to provide Maternity benefit of Rs.6000 for all mothers. The announcement came as if he is going to do something new, whereas as per the National Food Security Act 2013, “every pregnant woman and lactating mother shall be entitled to — maternity benefit of not less than rupees six thousand, in such instalments as may be prescribed by the Central Government”. The ‘Indira Gandhi Matrutva Sahyog Yojna’ is being implemented since 2010 on a pilot basis.

But the Modi Government which made such a huge hype and spent thousands of crores on advertisements and corporate subsidies allocated only Rs.2700 crore in 2017 which will cover only 17% of the 2.6crore live childbirths per year in India. This was pointed out by the CITU at that time itself.

Now, the Cabinet decision as per PIB release on 17 May 2017 says “It has been decided to give the benefit of Rs.5000/- to Pregnant Women &Lactating Mothers in three installments for the birth of the first live child”. This means the government of India is cutting down the legal entitlement.

In a country where 97% of the female workers are in the unorganized sector, which accounts for 17% of all maternal deaths in the world, in which there are 120 maternal deaths every day, it is atrocious that the Government is curtailing this hard earned legal entitlement which itself is not sufficient. This is in line with the government policy of cutting down the budget allocations for ICDS, NHM etc, the schemes which are addressing the problems of maternal and child mortality.

CITU demands that the government extend the scheme to all women irrespective of the number of children as per the Food security Act. CITU also demands adequate financial allocation for the Cash Benefit Scheme, ICDS and NHM as well as for improving the health delivery system.

Issued by
Tapan Sen
General Secretary

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