Cash-transfer program for pregnant women in India extended to the informal sector
On October 20, 2010, India approved pilots of a new cash-transfer program for pregnant women and lactating mothers who are outside the formal economy.
"The Ministry of Women and Child Development has proposed a new program that gives pregnant and lactating women compensation of INR4,000 (US$85) to help with the loss in wages. The scheme, called the Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana, hopes to encourage women to use optimal infant feeding practices, and make use of health care services. There has been a Maternity Benefit Act in place for over 50 years, but most women do not receive any benefits, as they work outside the formal sector. Women will often work right up to the time of birth, and resume work shortly after, causing potential health complications for both the mother and child."
IFTF notes that the current policy has a two-child limit.
IFTF writes that maternity care is wrapped up in a larger system of influences which must be addressed, from cultural perceptions of pregnancy to improved maternity health care services, but nonetheless, IGMSY is a big step in recognizing the rights of mothers, recognizing the public health importance of pregnancy, and especially in recognizing and extending public services to the informal sector.