How Is Janani Suraksha Yojana Performing in Backward Districts of India?

Economic & Political Weekly, 19 October 2013

With a view to reduce high levels of maternal and neonatal mortality, the National Rural Health Mission launched the Janani Suraksha Yojana in 2005. This is an innovative conditional cash transfer programme to provide monetary incentives to women to deliver in medical facilities. This study evaluates its functioning by using a unique data set covering eight districts spread across seven "low performing states" in the country. It shows that JSY is working reasonably well, judging by the proportion of women receiving incentives after delivering in a government facility, location of receiving incentives, mode of payments and payment of bribes. But the accredited social health activists, an important component of JSY, play a limited role in facilitating delivery in a medical facility. Importantly, even though the proportion of women delivering in a medical facility has improved considerably, a significant fraction of women continues to deliver at home. These women are more disadvantaged than those who deliver in government facilities.