WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 362-368

Janani Suraksha Yojana: the conditional cash transfer scheme to reduce maternal mortality in India – a need for reassessment

1 Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India
2 International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, India

Correspondence Address:
Rajesh Kumar Rai
Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.207038

PMID: 28615601

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Alongside endorsing Millennium Development Goal 5 in 2000, India launched its National Population Policy in 2000 and the National Health Policy in 2002. However, these have failed thus far to reduce the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by the targeted 5.5% per annum. Under the banner of the National Rural Health Mission, the Government of India launched a national conditional cash transfer (CCT) scheme in 2005 called Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), aimed to encourage women to give birth in health facilities which, in turn, should reduce maternal deaths. Poor prenatal care in general, and postnatal care in particular, could be considered the causes of the high number of maternal deaths in India (the highest in the world). Undoubtedly, institutional delivery in India has increased and MMR has reduced over time as a result of socioeconomic development coupled with advancement in health care including improved women’s education, awareness and availability of health services. However, in the light of its performance, we argue that the JSY scheme was not well enough designed to be considered as an effective pathway to reduce MMR. We propose that the service-based CCT is not the solution to avoid/reduce maternal deaths and that policy-makers and programme managers should reconsider the ‘package’ of continuum of care and maternal health services to ensure that they start from adolescence and the pre-pregnancy period, and extend to delivery, postnatal and continued maternal health care.

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