Chronic gaps in health and justice -Vanita Leah Falcao, KC Sachin and Sabhil Nath Painkra
There is an urgent need to address chronic delays in Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana payments
Malti Devi (name changed) gave birth to her first child in May 2017. She submitted an application for the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana three months later. The PMMVY is a Centrally-sponsored conditional cash transfer scheme that guarantees women Rs 5,000 for their first live birth. This amount is disbursed in three instalments during and immediately after pregnancy to enable women to rest and access better nutrition. Adequate nutrition and rest contribute significantly to the health of the mother, the development of the foetus, and in preventing premature delivery. Malti Devi has waited for over two years. The period in which she was meant to receive the PMMVY entitlement has long passed, but she has not received a single instalment.
Chronic payment delays in the PMMVY are the norm. A qualitative study by the authors in Manika block in Latehar, Jharkhand, in June 2019 revealed that despite applying with mandatory documentation, the entitlements of many women are pending. The instalments are often received after pregnancy and the initial months of breastfeeding. This is the period when additional nutrition and rest most improve maternal and child health.
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