In the Dark: Mothers in Sripur Village Unaware of Schemes Designed for Them

In October 2011, the Odisha Government launched a new scheme that would benefit new mothers. The ‘Mamta Scheme’ gives Rs. 5000 to all new mothers provided they have registered at the local Anganwadi Centre. Like all schemes that get launched in India, this one came with all the requisite pomp and media hype. A few months later it was declared to be a runaway success as over 2 lakh women had registered for the scheme.

In today’s video IndiaUnheard Community Correspondent Satya Mahar points out that there are still gaps in the implementation of the scheme. In Sripur Village, Kalahandi District there are three new mothers who have not received any money from this scheme. In fact, they are completely unaware of the fact that the scheme exists.

The Government of Odisha’s official magazine ‘Orrissareview’ clearly states that it is the responsibility of the Anganwadi workers to ensure that women register for the scheme within four months of conceiving and receive a card which will monitor that they have received their instalments. In this case, the Anganwadi worker has failed to keep the women informed of the scheme implemented for them.

One of the women, Dalima Majhi, is a mother of two. Under the ‘Mamta Scheme’, she should have received a sum of Rs. 1,500 as a first instalment within 45 days of having her baby. The money would have gone towards Measles immunisation and proper nutrition.

“I am poor. Had I known, I could have used that money to take care of my child,” she says.

Dalima is 19 and helps support her family by working as a labourer with her husband. Many others in Odisha continue working late into their pregnancy and also start working soon after they have had a baby. It isn’t negligence but a matter of compulsion.

One of the main aims of the ‘Mamta Scheme’ is to help ease such financial pressure of new mothers so that they can take care of themselves and their baby. The scheme is in place, the funds available. Why then, are beneficiaries like Dalima being kept in the dark regarding their entitlements?

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