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Government think tank Niti Aayog has prepared a cabinet note for granting Rs 6,000 aid to pregnant women as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on New Year's Eve. "We have prepared a cabinet note for granting Rs 6,000 aid to pregnant women.
We will soon circulate cabinet note to other ministries," a senior Niti Aayog official said. Last month, the Aayog had called a meeting of states to finalise modalities for granting Rs 6,000 aid to pregnant women and later submitted its report to Prime Minister's Office (PMO). In a move aimed to improve maternal mortality rate and health of the mother and child, Modi on New Year's Eve had announced that women who undergo institutional delivery and vaccinate their children would get an assistance of Rs 6,000. In a televised address to the nation, the Prime Minister had said that the financial assistance will also ensure nutrition for the mother before and after delivery. However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget 2017-18 allocated only Rs 2,700 crore for Maternity Benefit Programme, which is perceived as way below the actual requirement for universal coverage. "We are introducing a nation-wide scheme for financial assistance to pregnant women. Rs 6,000 will be transferred directly to the bank accounts of pregnant women who undergo institutional delivery and vaccinate their children," he had said. He had also said that so far, pregnant women in 53 districts were getting an assistance of Rs 4,000 under the pilot project. It is a Centrally sponsored scheme and the cost sharing between Centre and States is 60:40 for all the States and UTs (with legislature), 90:10 for NER and Himalayan States and 100 per cent GoI share for UTs without legislatures. According to the estimate, the total cost of the proposal for the balance period of 2016-17 and from 2017-18 to 2019-20 including Centre and State share is expected to be Rs 12,661.00 crore.