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Cabinet extends maternity benefit scheme across India

The Union cabinet on Wednesday decided to extend the maternity benefit scheme across India, under which pregnant and lactating mothers will get ₹6,000 for their first born child.

The scheme, which is presently under implementation on a pilot basis in 52 districts, provides financial assistance to pregnant women for the first two live births. It was launched by the women and child development (WCD) ministry in 2010.

The programme, which does not cover women working in state or central government, aims to ensure that beneficiaries are not deprived of nutrition before and after pregnancy, and also get partially compensated for the wage loss, in case they are working.

“Out of this, ₹5,000 will be given by the WCD ministry and ₹1,000 by the state,” Union power minister Piyush Goyal said at the cabinet briefing.

The scheme was originally called Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana. The programme will cost the government ₹12, 661 crore for four years till March 2020. Of this the Centre’s share is ₹7,932 crore.

The leg up to the scheme follows the announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 31 to transfer ₹6,000 crore to the bank accounts of pregnant women.

Source: Hindustan Times

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