Observing India’s 69th Independence Day, the Association for India’s Development published a website featuring a tribute to Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, who fought against caste oppression and is known as the architect of India’s constitution. Article 42 of India’s Consitution provides for maternity leave, as follows:
Article 42 of the Constitution of India 1949
Provision for just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief the State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.
And in fact Ambedkar spoke publicly about this nearly 20 years before at the Bombay Legislative Assembly.
Like many of the progressive principles of India’s Constitution and Directive principles, however, it is unappreciated, poorly implemented or outright violated. A consultation on implementation of the Maternity Benefit Act held by the Ministry of Women and Child Development found that:
According to the NSSO (61st Round) only 0.30 per cent of female workers over 15–49 years have access to health care and maternity benefits. Those who are not eligible by this estimate account for 99.7 per cent of the workforce, that is, 102 million.
Let us renew our commitment to work for the rights of all and eradicate injustice stemming from caste, gender.
Ambedkar Caravan: 28 July 1928 in Dalit History
Shura Darapuri, Dr Ambedkar As The Champion Of Women’s Rights