Launching wage compensation scheme for pregnant women in tea garden areas of the state, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday termed this as a historic initiative of the state government which would help bring down the mortality rate among the pregnant women of the tea community of the state.
The programme was held at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra in Guwahati.
Saying that Assam’s identity is synonymous with its tea gardens but the large working labourer population in the tea gardens have not been given access to quality healthcare, Sonowal stated that that the high Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) among pregnant women in tea garden areas due to anaemia and other diseases have been a major cause of worry and as the pregnant women labourers in the tea gardens have to work through their pregnancy till the time of delivery the mortality rate is on the higher side.
To address this concern, this Wage Compensation Scheme for Pregnant Women has been launched to provide a total of Rs 12,000 to each pregnant woman in tea garden areas so that she can take better care of herself and her unborn baby without compromising the livelihood of her family, he said.
An amount of more than Rs. 55 crore is allotted in the State Health Budget for the financial year 2018-19 for this scheme which will benefit nearly 48,000 pregnant women of tea garden areas every year. All temporary, permanent or non-workers living within the tea garden areas will be eligible for the scheme.
As per the scheme, first installment of Rs. 2,000 will be provided during Ante Natal Check-up (ANC) registration within the first trimester, second installment of Rs. 4,000 during sixth month of the pregnancy, third installment of Rs. 3,000 during delivery at government approved health institution and fourth installment of Rs. 3,000 during sixth week post-delivery will be provided to the pregnant women.
Speaking on the occasion Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of the State was 480 in the year 2004-06 and that figure has come down to 237. But in tea garden areas MMR is still 404 and tea gardens in the districts of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Sivasagar account for the highest number maternal deaths in the state.
He also informed that those who did not get Rs 2500 which was deposited to 8 lakh newly opened bank accounts in the tea gardens will receive Rs 5000 in December and another Rs 2500 will also be given to those who already received a similar amount earlier. The plans for providing free life insurance against those bank accounts and free sugar to ration card holders in tea garden areas are also on the anvil. 500 girls from the tea community will be given free nursing training in the coming year and roads in the 800 tea gardens would be made with paver blocks in the state.
MP Kamkhya Prasad Tasa, Minister of State for Tea Tribes Welfare Department Pallab Lochan Das also spoke in the programme which was attended by Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Pijush Hazarika, MLAs Sanjay Kishan, Teros Gowala, Rituparna Baruah, Principal Secretary Health and Family Welfare Sameer Sinha, popular singer Neel Akash among others.