Ensure benefits of maternity schemes: Sonia to Cong CMs

Ensure benefits of maternity schemes: Sonia to Cong CMs

Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party leader Rahul Gandhi. (PTI Photo)

Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi has written to chief ministers of party-ruled states to ensure payment of Rs 6,000 to pregnant women and lactating mothers as provided for in the National Food Security Act (NFSA), the flagship initiative of the UPA government.

Sonia, in her letter dated November 26, also criticised the Modi government for diluting the NFSA provisions while implementing the Pradhan Mantri Matrutva Vandans Yojana (PMMVY) that seeks to give Rs 5,000 in three installments to pregnant women and lactating mothers.

“The PMMVY has reduced the payment amount from Rs 6,000 to Rs 5,000. In addition, it restricts the benefits of just one child per woman in violation of the NFSA,” Sonia said.

She noted that barely 22% of women had received the payout in 2017-18, particularly because the online payment was linked to the Aadhar card of the beneficiary.

“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,” she said.

She said the party can take up the implementation of PMMVY vigorously at the national level once the Congress-run states improve the performance of the scheme in their regions.

The Congress has governments in Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, and Puducherry.