No Financial Benefits For Pregnant Women – Chetan Salve Reports for IndiaUnheard

Rural pregnant women are motivated to deliver their babies in hospitals rather than in their homes, according to Manav Vikas Mission (Human Development Mission). This program, launched in 2006 is an initiative of Government of Maharashtra to increase Human Development Index (HDI) of backward districts of Maharashtra, India.

Under this mission, pregnant women are given Rs.4000 as “Lost wages”. This is because rural women in India usually work on farms until the ninth month of their pregnancies. The amount is given in place of the income that a woman loses because of her stay in the hospital during pregnancy. It is provided to ensure that pregnant mothers are not required to work and are able to avail nutritious food and proper healthcare.

However, in Dhadgaon tehsil of Nandurbar district, the distribution of this amount starts only in the month of August every year. As a result, the women who are carrying from April to July cannot receive this amount, thus leading to the failure of the mission’s objective. There are no annual government economic schemes for rural pregnant women from March to April. Added to this is the fact that this scheme begins only in August. Hence approximately 300-400 pregnant women are cheated of this aid in Dhagaon tehsil alone. The community’s request is to let the grant be made available to all beneficiaries, on an annual basis, starting from April to the month of March in the following year.

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