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Sikkim announced 1-year maternity leave

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    4th Aug, 2023


Recently, the Sikkim government has announced a decision to provide 12-month maternity leave and one-month paternity leave to its employees.

What are the present rules for maternity leave in States?

  • Maternity leave is a period of time when a woman takes a break from work following the birth of a child.
  • In India, maternity leave allows a woman employee to take time off work when her child is born.
  • Maternity Benefit Act of 1961: Under the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, female employees were only entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave.
    • The act is applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more.
  • Maternity Benefits Act of 2017: The Maternity Benefits Act of 2017 increased the period to 26 weeks. Furthermore, noncompliance with the laws and regulations carries a penalty. 
  • DPSP: The Directive Principle of State Policy (DPSP) states that "the State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief."
  • Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948 (ESIA) and the Central Civil Services Rules, 1972: Under the following scheme all non-season factories which run on power with the capacity of more than 10 employees are covered.
  • International convention: Members of International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted a resolution in an international convention on economic and social rights in 2004 adopted a resolution providing equal opportunity for women.
    • At this conference, a resolution was passed to give 14 weeks of maternity leave to women.
    • India is a member of the ILO.

Important Government Interventions for Maternity benefits

  • Janani Suraksha Yojana under the National Health Mission to link cash assistance to institutional deliveries.
  • Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) provides a fixed day for assured, comprehensive and quality antenatal care free of cost to pregnant women on 9th of every month.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana
  • PoshanAbhiyan 
  • LaQshya Guidelines

Key-details of Sikkim’s Policy:

  • Himalayan state – Sikkim – has the lowest population in India, around 6.32 lakh.
  • Thus, in order to boost the population of indigenous communities in Sikkim, the state government, through a notification, decided to provide advance and additional increments to its employees having two or three children with retrospective effect from 1 January, 2023.
  • The notification mentioned Department of Personnel of the state government employees possessing Sikkim Subject Certificate/Certificate of Identification shall get one advanced increment for having two surviving children.

About Sikkim:

  • Sikkim became the 22nd State of India included in the Constitution (36th Amendment) Act 1975. Located in the eastern Himalayas. It is one of the smallest states in India.
  • Population composition:
  • Roughly three-fourths of Sikkim’s residents are Nepalese in origin; most speak a Nepali (Gorkhali) dialect and are Hindu in religion and culture.
  • About one-fifth of the population consists of Scheduled Tribes (an official category embracing indigenous peoples who fall outside the predominant Indian social hierarchy).
  • The most prominent of these tribal groups are the Bhutia, the Lepcha, and the Limbu; they all speak Tibeto-Burman languages and practice Mahayana Buddhism as well as the indigenous religion.
  • There is a notable Christian minority in Sikkim, as well as a tiny community of Muslims.
  • A small fraction of Sikkim’s people belong to the Scheduled Castes (an official term designating those peoples who traditionally have occupied a low position within the Indian caste system).

Significance of the policy:

  • The scheme will help in conservation of Indigenous Tribal population.

Major Tribes

  • Bhutia: The Bhutia are a community of Sikkimese people living in the state of Sikkim in north-eastern India, who speak Drenjongke or Sikkimese, a Tibetic language fairly mutually intelligible with standard Tibetan.
    • In 2001, the Bhutia numbered around 60,300.  Bhutia here refers to people of Tibetic ancestry.
  • Lepcha: Lepcha is a tribe of Himalayan range live at the North-East corner of India. They largely reside at Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Bhutan, Sikkim and Darjeeling. They have also migrated in other North-Eastern States for economic reason.
  • Limbu: The Limbu are of Mongolian stock and speak a language belonging to the Kiranti group of Tibeto-Burman languages.  It has its own alphabet (the Kirat-Sirijonga script), believed to have been invented in the 9th century.
  • Furthermore, it would lead to the conservation of culture and ethnicity: Sikkim’s cultural life, though showing strong Tibetan influences, retains a character derived from the various tribes of Sikkim and their pre-Buddhist customs.
  • Many monasteries are repositories of wall paintings, thang-kas (religious paintings mounted on brocade), bronze images, and other artworks

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