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Nari Shakthi: Maternity Benefit Programme

Government of India is committed to ensure that every woman attains optimal nutritional status – especially from the most vulnerable communities as nutrition constitutes the foundation for human development.

Thus the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has given ex-post facto approval to Pan-India implementation of Maternity Benefit Program. The Maternity Benefit Programme will provide compensation for the wage loss in terms of cash incentives so that women can take adequate rest before and after delivery and not be deprived of proper nutrition.

Objective of the Scheme

i) To provide partial compensation for the wage loss in terms of cash incentives so that the woman can take adequate rest before and after delivery of the first living child.
ii) The cash incentives provided would lead to improved health seeking behaviour amongst the Pregnant Women and Lactating Mother (PW&LM) to reduce the effects of under-nutrition namely stunting, wasting and other related problems.

Target Group

All eligible Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM), excluding the Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers who are in regular employment with the Central Government or State Government or Public Sector Undertakings or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law for the time being. It has been decided to give the benefit of Rs.5000/- to PW&LM in three installment, for the birth of the first live child by MWCD and the remaining cash incentive as per approved norms towards Maternity Benefit under existing programmes after institutional delivery so that on an average, a woman will get Rs.6000/-.

Why needed?

An under-nourished mother almost inevitably gives birth to a low birth weight baby. When poor nutrition starts in-utero, it extends throughout the life cycle, particularly in women. Owing to economic and social distress many women continue to work to earn a living for their family right upto the last days of their pregnancy. Furthermore, they resume working soon after childbirth, even through their bodies might not permit it, thus preventing their bodies from fully recovering on one hand, and also impending their ability to exclusively breastfeed their young infant in the first six months.

Practice question:

1. Which of the following statements related to MMR is correct?
1. Maternal mortality rate highlights the number of mothers dying per 100 live births.
2. According to the World Bank, MMR for India is 174.
3. The major cause of MMR in India is Post-Partum Haemorrhage.


a) 2 and 3

b) Only 1

c) 1 and 2

d) All

Ans: a
Exp: The maternal mortality rate (MMR) that highlights the number of mothers dying per 100,000 live births, may be on a decline, still about five women die every hour in India from complications developed during childbirth.


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