In 2017, the Government of India (GoI) announced a maternity benefit program, called the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), with hopes to improve health-seeking behavior and nutrition outcomes among first-time pregnant women and lactating mothers (PW&LM) and young children (under 2 years). The scheme hopes to achieve these ends by transferring Rs. 5,000 over three installments, conditional on beneficiaries completing three key milestones:

  • Payment 1: (INR 1000) on early registration of pregnancy,

  • Payment 2: (INR 2000) on receipt of at least one Ante-natal care (ANC) after 6 months of pregnancy,

  • Payment 3: (INR 2000) on delivery and registration of birth in a healthcare facility and child receiving the first cycle of immunization (BCG, OPV, DPT and Hep-B or equivalent).


Anganwadi worker explains PMMVY scheme to field team. 

Photo by Matthew Bunyi

Given the program's nationwide roll out, PMMVY is slated to become one of the world's largest cash transfer programs, with more than 3.5 million enrolled beneficiaries as of June 2018. As such, policymakers should pay attention to key program design elements to improve both the program's implementation and, more importantly, impact on key health and nutrition outcomes. In partnership with NITI Aayog and the Government of Madhya Pradesh, this project aims to achieve the following goals:

  • Assess the overall impact of PMMVY on health and nutrition outcomes for both pregnant women and young children;

  • Improve understandings of how interventions could improve the impact of conditional cash transfers on health and nutrition.