Sonia Gandhi Requests Congress CMs To Provide Rs 6000 To Pregnant And Lactating Mothers
Congress party veteran Sonia Gandhi asked the Chief Ministers belonging to her party to ensure every marginalised pregnant woman and lactating mother is paid at least Rs 6000 for expenses, to curb malnutrition that is rampant in pregnant and lactating mothers in India.
She wrote a letter to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, mentioning the need to provide them with the basic amount to sustain the mother and child.
The plan was envisioned under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) i.e. to provide food security and basic health facilities to 75% of the rural and 50% of the urban population with a focus on nutritional needs of children.
“I hope this letter finds you well. As you are aware that the NFSA 2013 promises cash transfer of Rs 6,000 to all pregnant women and lactating mothers, excluding those who are already receiving similar benefits from elsewhere. Please take steps to ensure that the scheme reaches every eligible woman and she receives at least Rs 6,000 – as envisioned under NFSA,” the letter read.
“I would like to urge you to critically review the cumbersome requirements, which significantly reduce the coverage of pregnant women and lactating mothers under the scheme,” the letter further requested.
The Congress party head also mentioned a health report survey stating that only 22% of women received this benefit in 2017-18.
Gandhi said, “This is largely due to the implementation architecture prescribed for the PMMVY. The online payment scheme which is linked to the Aadhaar card has proven somewhat unreliable. Misallocation of the amounts, wrong Aadhaar linkage, etc has been reported repeatedly.”
“Once we are able to improve the performance of this scheme in the Congress-run states, we can take up the issue with greater strength at the national level,” she noted in the letter.
Around 63 per cent of women work until the last day of their pregnancy before they deliver a child, revealed a Jaccha-Baccha Survey conducted across six north Indian states in June. The survey noted that no help was available to 21% of the nursing women for their household work during their pregnancy.
India has the highest number of children stunted because of malnourishment. It is still predominantly a risk factor for death in children younger than five in every state of India in 2017, accounting for 68.2 per cent of the total under-5 deaths, translating into 706,000 deaths (due to malnutrition). It was also the leading risk factor for loss of health among all age groups.