The State has been ranked 11th in fund utilisation under the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) maternity benefit programme.
A Centrally-sponsored conditional cash transfer scheme for pregnant and lactating women for the first live birth, the PMMVY is being implemented across the country since the beginning of 2017. It provides partial compensation to women for wage loss during childbirth and childcare so that they can take adequate rest before and after delivery. The cash incentive is also expected to lead to improved health of the women.
In Kerala, ₹114 crore has been distributed under the programmewith the Union government component being 60% and the rest that of the State. The number of beneficiaries in the State since the launch of the programme is 3.19 lakh. In 2019-20, the number of beneficiaries has crossed 35,000. The cash incentive is given in three instalments of ₹1,000, ₹2,000, and ₹2,000, respectively.
Eligibility for the first instalment is registration within 150 days of the last menstrual period (LMP).
The beneficiary has to have had at least one ante-natal check-up for availing the second instalment. It can be claimed after 180 days from the LMP date. The third instalment can be received after child birth registration and completion of first cycle of vaccinations. The incentive is provided directly into the account of the beneficiaries.
The beneficiaries include all pregnant and lactating women excluding those in regular employment with the Union or the State governments or public sector units or those in receipt of similar benefits under any law. Anganwadi workers and helpers who receive honorarium are also eligible.
The PMMVY is implemented in the State using the platform of anganwadi services under the Women and Child Development Department.
Applications are collected by anganwadi workers and entered into the PMMVY software at the 258 Integrated Child Development Services offices across the State.
Funds from the Union government are transferred directly to an escrow account maintained by the State government. There is no lag of funds and no fund lapse either under the PMMVY, government officials point out. Target achievement and fund expenditure are the criteria for receiving the next instalment of funds.
As on April 30, more than ₹2,800 crore has been disbursed across the country to over 86.88 lakh beneficiaries.