The article was published in The Hindu on 19 March 2020
The Rajasthan government has announced a maternity benefit scheme for four districts in the State on a pilot basis under which it will offer ₹6,000 for the birth of the second child.
The scheme will be implemented in Udaipur, Pratapgath, Banswara and Dungarpur, where nutrition indicators among children and anaemia levels among mothers are worse than the average for the State.
The government aims to reach out to 75,000 beneficiaries annually. It estimates an expenditure of ₹45 crore per year. The State scheme will complement the Central government’s Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana which offers ₹5,000 for the birth of the first child.
The Rajasthan government scheme is called Indira Gandhi Matritva Poshan Yojana, and was announced by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot last week in the State Assembly.
“The scheme is covered under this year’s budgetary allocation. The State government plans to implement it within this financial year. While the government has prepared an estimate for an initial period of 5 years, it may be extended and even be implemented in more districts in the State,” Secretary for Women and Child Development Department of Rajasthan, K.K. Pathak said.
“The government feels that the second child doesn’t receive as much attention as the first child and, therefore, it is important to extend this cash benefit to ensure adequate nutrition for the second child,” Mr. Pathak explained.
Beneficiaries will receive cash in three or five instalments upon meeting certain conditions. However, unlike the Central scheme they will not have to submit an Aadhaar card for the State scheme and the money will be transferred directly to their bank accounts.