If women were unable to deliver in the hospital for genuine reasons, the government would consider and provide them with maternity allowances, according to Prime Minister, Dr Lotay Tshering.

This was clarified yesterday while responding to Jomotshangkha-Martshala’s Member of Parliament (MP) Norbu Wangzom’s concerns raised during the question-answer session of the ongoing parliament session.

The Prime Minister said that the government would ensure all needy people receive the service and support. “With the maternity allowance, women wouldn’t have to work.”

He also said that providing maternity allowance would benefit people.

Health minister, Dechen Wangmo, said the ministry would plan and discuss the issue properly to avoid issues in future.

“We also had discussions with experts from outside the country several times,” she said. “We don’t have to revisit the policy if the base is strong.”

She also said the government would implement it as soon as possible.

Norbu Wangzom said that although the requirements such as giving birth in the hospital and monthly checkup were good, it would be against the government’s aim to narrow the gap between rich and poor.

She said that even if women in rural areas want to visit the hospital for delivery and monthly checkups, distance from the hospitals, financial constraints and agricultural work bar them from availing the services.

Norbu Wangzom said that women who could afford come to the hospital even without the government providing allowance.

Providing maternity allowance for rural women during the initial months of childbirth was one of the government’s campaign pledges.

Phurpa Lhamo