Chhattisgarh has become the first state in india to start paying one-month motherhood allowance, with maternity leave, to pregnant women working under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGA).

Though the announcement to implement this scheme was made by chief minister Raman Singh at the last assembly session, it was officially launched on Friday with water resource minister Ramvichar Netam distributing cheques worth Rs 4,380 each to five women workers of Durg development block.

Under the motherhood benefit scheme, 30-day wage would be given to six to nine month pregnant women working under MNREGA through the Janpad Panchayat concerned. This benefit would be given to them one month after delivery also.

For getting the benefit, name of the woman concerned should be in the job card of registered families of MNREGA. Besides, it will be mandatory that the concerned woman should have worked in MNREGA for at least 15 days in a year.

The government has also decided to give 50-day additional work to the labourers working under MNREGA and it would be funded by state government. Now, MNREGA workers will get 150 days job in a year in Chhattisgarh, while, in this Central government scheme, provision of only 100 days job has been made.

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Arunima, thank you for sharing this news with us.

I am unfamiliar with the allowances made to pregnant women in India but imagine that this is a step towards better support for working mothers. I was wondering what your thoughts were on the program and if you see it as adequate, a historical first step, or a political move to appease the local population with little chance of being adopted throughout the country. I have little context with which to assess this scheme and so would love to hear your thoughts.

Dear Janice,thank you for connecting...this indeed is a mammoth step in a country tainted by the dirty colours of female infanticide and injustice and torture against women of all kinds and in all degrees...there would surely be political motives and it needs to be seen how successfully the scheme gets implemented upon..

We at Pulse believe that first comes thought; then comes organization of that thought into ideas and plans.. then comes transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination...

I am hopefull..i will mail you few reports which would help you understand the situation of pregnant women in india..

Regards, Arunima Dutta