After Narendra Modi’s New Year speech where he announced Rs 6,000 as incentive to pregnant women across the country, it is the Telangana government which is thinking about giving some cash incentives to the pregnant women of the state. The state government is thinking of offering incentives to women in four instalments.
“We are currently collecting the data on the number of pregnancies in the state. Once, the data is available, the proposal will be placed before the Chief Minister for final approval. Once the CM gives his nod to it, the new scheme will be launched in the state in the forthcoming Budget,” sources in medical and health department told The New Indian Express. “We are planning to give Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 in each instalment,” an official said.
The reason behind the scheme, as defined by an official to the Express, is that women during and after pregnancy get no work at least for a year, so if there are cash incentives provided to them during this period, they will be able to support their family. “After pregnancy, most of the women will be out of work and the family’s income will reduce for one year. Then, the mothers-in-law will start harassing the daughters-in-law. Providing cash to the pregnant women will help them get good food for themselves and also to support the family,” an official said.
Tamil Nadu already has a scheme in place for pregnant women below poverty line called Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy Maternity Benefit Scheme. The state government provides its pregnant women Rs 15,000 in four instalments. Taking a leaf from the same scheme, the Centre announced Rs 6,000 to pregnant women.
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However, this is not the first time that such an initiative has been taken. Cash incentive was mentioned in a clause in the National Food Security Act passed in 2013, Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) launched in 2005 and the Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY), a central government ‘pilot’ scheme carried out in 53 districts around the country in 2010 which had 61,972 beneficiaries between 2010-2011 and 2013-14
“Tamil Nadu started receiving central government funds from last year after it started giving cash to the pregnant women,” an official pointed out.
Like the TN government, even Telangana government is only considering to provide this incentive to institutionalized deliveries and women who are below poverty line. It has been reported that currently, Telangana government hospitals have about 2.5 lakh deliveries, so if the state decides to give Rs 20,000 to every woman, the total expenditure in this regard will come to Rs 500 crore.
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