ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Birth Pangs

Universal Maternity Entitlements in India

In June 2018, a small survey of the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana in two blocks of Jharkhand—Manika in Latehar district and Khunti in Khunti district—examined the status of the scheme and the problems faced by women at the time of pregnancy and delivery, such as health expenditure, inadequate nutrition, and loss of income. The findings call for better implementation of the scheme, as well as make a case for maternity benefits to be raised to a minimum of ₹6,000 per child for all pregnancies and not just for the first living child.

The authors are grateful to Jean Drèze for his invaluable guidance and support, and are also indebted to Pachathi Singh, Sugiya Devi and James Herenj for their mentorship and direction. The authors also thank Reetika Khera and Aditya Srivastava for their useful discussions and feedback and gratefully acknowledge the comments of the anonymous referee on an earlier draft of this paper.

On 28 July 1928, B R Ambedkar, arguing in favour of the Maternity Benefit Bill when it was introduced for the first time in the Bombay Legislative Assembly, stated:

I believe that it is in the interests of the nation that the mother ought to get a certain amount of rest during the pre-natal period and also subsequently ... the benefits contemplated by this bill ought to be given by this Legislature to the poor women who toil in our factories in this Presidency.

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Updated On : 19th Nov, 2020
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