The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016 was introduced and passed in Rajya Sabha today. The Bill amends the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.  The Act regulates the employment of women during the period of childbirth, and provides maternity benefits.  The Act applies to factory, mines, plantations, shops and other establishments.  The Bill amends provisions related to the duration and applicability of maternity leave, and other facilities.

Duration of maternity leave: The Act states that every woman will be entitled to maternity benefit of 12 weeks.  The Bill increases this to 26 weeks.

Further, under the Act, this maternity benefit should not be availed before six weeks from the date of expected delivery.  The Bill changes this to eight weeks.

In case of a woman who has two or more children, the maternity benefit will continue to be 12 weeks, which cannot be availed before six weeks from the date of the expected delivery.

 

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For more information, please visit the PRS blog.

The Central Agricultural University (Amendment) Bill, was also passed by Rajya Sabha.  The Bill proposes to amend Act of 1992. 

The Act provides for the establishment of a University in the north-eastern region for the development of agriculture, and advancement of research in agriculture and allied sciences.  It states that the University is responsible for teaching and research in the field of agriculture for the north-eastern states.

The Act defines the north-eastern region as comprising the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura.  The Bill amends this definition to include the state of Nagaland.

Rajya Sabha took up discussion on draft National Education Policy.  Some data on education indicators such as enrolment of students, drop-out rates, availability of teachers and share of government and private schools can be found in our vital stats document here.

Lok Sabha took up discussion on atrocities against Dalits in various part of the country. Members during the debate emphasized on how such atrocities have continued over the years due to social values and while crimes have increased, conviction rates still remain low.

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