Parliament approved on Thursday a bill granting women working in the organised sector paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, up from 12 weeks now, a decision which will benefit around 1.8 million women.

The law will apply to all establishments employing 10 or more people and the entitlement will be for the first two children. For the third child, the entitlement will be 12 weeks.

With this, India becomes the country with the third highest maternity leave. Canada and Norway grant 50 weeks and 44 weeks respectively as paid maternity leave.

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed by Lok Sabha on Thursday. Rajya Sabha had passed it in August last year.

Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya replies to the discussion on the Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Dattatreya assures to take informal sector on board in phased manner.

The first part of the Budget session of Parliament started on January 31 and concluded on February 9.

The second part of the session began today.

The Lok Sabha passed the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 today. The Bill had already been passed by the Rajya Sabha during the Winter Session. It entitles the women working in the organised sector to paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, up from 12 weeks.


6.07 p.m.: After clause by clause voting on the Bill, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourns the House for tomorrow.

6.03 p.m.: Lok Sabha unanimously passes Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016 by voice vote.

5.40 p.m.: Mr. Dattatreya responds to the discussion. Provision for working from home is news in this amendment, he says. The tripartite mechanism — employer, union and government — is a prominent provision the Minister says adding that State governments have a major role to play in the implementation of maternity benefits as labour is in concurrent list.

He lists out new provisions in the amendment: Six weeks leave for abortion/termination of pregnancy; one month for medical illness; no wage reduction on account of pregnancy.

Deputy Speaker Thambidurai says, “Amma gave nine-month maternity leave” when the Minister clarifies on a remark by AIADMK MP Vasantha.

My priority is to see that unorganised sector to get social security, he says citing steps of the Centre bring in construction workers under social security.

The Minister assures the House that all the Ministries concerned will be taken aboard and implementation will be fully integrated.

Minister concludes his speech with a request to MPs to pass the Bill and an assurance that the government would take up steps for income and social security for all.

5.35 p.m.: BJP’s Ramesh Bhiduri triggers a protest from the Congress benches for his remark against Sonia Gandhi.

5.30 p.m.: INLD MP Dhushyant Chautala says employers will go scot-free if penalty for non-implementation is kept low. He also wants the leave should be extended to 30 weeks.

5.10 p.m.: RSP’s N.K. Premachandran begins with praising the Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya for bringing in many labour welfare measures in the 16th Lok Sabha.  Social transformation from joint family to nuclear family system has necessitated enhancement of maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks, he says. “Almost all legislations giving prominence to organised sector. But 90% of the workforce is unorganised. Further 95% women in the workforce is not covered by maternity benefits. The government should take care of them,” he says.

He also raises the issue of more than two children. “Why are we denying such benefit to mothers after two children. This is against Article 14 of the Constitution.”

5.05 p.m.: Kushalendra Kumar of the JD(U) says the law should also include private sector and the informal sector.

4.55 p.m.: Bijoya Chakravarty of BJP cites statistics to highlight the sorry state of maternal health in the country. “One in every five women become mothers before they turn 18.”

When we pray, we pray to our female deities. But when it comes extending benefits to women we are stingy, she says.

4.50 p.m.: IUML MP E.T. Mohd Basheer makes a strong case for workers in the informal sector citing health hazards and also about non-parity in pay while pressing for comprehensive reforms in this regard.

4.45 p.m.: While supporting Dr. Dastidar, Sanjay Jaiswal of the BJP advocates benefits for single fathers. “What if father has to care for child,” he asks an example of birth of twins to a Bollywood personality. He also wants the implementation of the benefit so that women should not leave their jobs.

4.30 p.m.: Dr. Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar of the Trinamool Congress says other Ministries should also be taken aboard as suggested by Supriya Sule. She also takes exception to gentlemen MPs’ language when they talk about such benefits to women.  “West Bengal has started ‘maternal and child hub’, maternal death rates have come down the State.” Appeals to the Home Minister for clause for posting of women security personnel during post-pregnancy period.  non-commercial surrogate mothers should also be given some benefits, she says adding single mothers should also be included.

Trinamool MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar speaks during the discussion on Maternity Benefit Bill in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

4.25 p.m.:

NCP MP Supriya Sule speaks during the discussion on Maternity Benefit Bill in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

 NCP leader Supriya Sule takes exception to the speeches of some MPs. “Please don’t make it sound like we are the weaker sex. We are glad to bear children,” she says.  She also wants women to be given the option to divide the 26-week period as they wish. “There should be scope to divide 26 weeks of proposed leave period.” Plus the maternity benefit should be integrated with other health benefits and not be seen in isolation of other pregnancy-time benefits, she adds. “Many women in India don’t have a choice about their third pregnancy,” she says.

4.10 p.m.: CPI(M)’s P.K. Biju says India is too late on such benefits. Cites Korea which offers 60 weeks maternity leave to the mother and 30 weeks to the father.  The Alathur MP requests inclusion of a clause to include unorganised sector and to make it mandatory for the private sector.

4.05 p.m.: Bongir’s TRS MP Dr. Boora Narsaiah Goud, a surgeon, suggests few weeks of paternity leave along with maternity leave. In the absence of any leaves such as medical leave, casual leave or earned leave, pregnant women from the informal sector should also be extended maternity benefits, he says.

TRS MP Boora Narsaiah Goud speaks during the discussion on Maternity Benefit Bill in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

4 p.m.: TDP’s Ravindra Balu Pandula is of the opinion that the girl child is being discriminated against “from womb to tomb”. Suggests start of benefits right from beginning of pregnancy like Air India does.

3.50 p.m.: South Mumbai MP Arvind Sawant of the Shiv Sena too highlights the difficulty of pregnat women from the unorganised sector. He cites women sugarcane workers in Maharashtra who have to leave young babies under trees as they work.

3.40 p.m.: BJD member Tatagatha Satpathy suggests denial of maternity leave after the third child.

BJD’s Tathagata Satpathy speaks during the discussion on Maternity Benefit Bill in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

3.10 p.m.: Silchar Congress MP Sushmita Dev says the will benefit only a small percentage of women in the country as 90% of the working women are in the unorganised sector. She says the provision that the benefit burden is on the employer will discourage them to hire pregnant women.  She wants paternity leave made compulsory so that not to disadvantage women.

2.50 p.m.: Lok Sabha reconvenes; begins discussion on the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016.  Labour Minister Bandau Dattatreya initiates the discussion. Says the Bill is in the wake of 44th, 45th and 46th Indian Labour Conferences and his Ministry’s request to enhance the benefits.


1.40 p.m.: Lok Sabha adjourned till 2.40 p.m.

1.32 p.m.: RSP MP from Kerala, N.K. Premachandran talks about State Bank of India and its penalties. “ATM cash withdrawal fees are also among other costs incurred by the common people. Stringent action has to be taken by the govt.”


1.21 p.m.: Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Bhaurao Raut from Maharashtra says Bombay High Court should be renamed to Mumbai High Court.

1.19 p.m.: Delhi BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma says RSS workers are killed and such incidents of violence keeps happening.

1.14 p.m.: INC MP K.C. Venugopal seeks an enquiry from the government on false information about Major Rishi’s health condition being circulated from Delhi’s offices.


1.07 p.m.: CPI-M MP from Kasargod, P. Karunakaran talks about RSS leader issuing an award for Kerala Chief Minister’s head. “I want to know if our government attacks other chief ministers.”

1.06 p.m.: BJP MP Nishikant Dubey says Bangladesh immigrants are operating cyber-criminal cells and snatching “our jobs”.

12.48 p.m.: BJP MP Harinarayan Rajbhar says UP’s Ghagra river floods villages every year. “We need provisions for bunding.”

12.45 p.m.: AIADMK MP P. Venugopal says Sri Lankan Navy has arrested Tamil Nadu fishermen, adds that peace accord with India was violated. V. Elumalai agrees.

Shashi Tharoor says fishermen were arrested by Pakistan and Britain as well.

12.42 p.m.: M.Thambidurai says racial profiling happens in U.S. as well as Australia.

Rajnath Singh replies that we will take steps to ensure safety of Indians.

12.30 p.m.: TRS MP Jithender Reddy says the killing was done saying “Go back to your country”. We haven’t seen this in the past. We demand a proper statement from the government like Kharge asked for.”

12.17 p.m.: INC MP Mallikharjun Kharge speaks about Srinivas Kuchibotla’s death in the U.S., says U.S. President Donald Trump’s assuming of office has resulted in these murders, demands Modi government to take steps in curtailing such incidents. “Why is Modi silent?” asks Kharge.

TMC MP Saugata Roy also asks about H1B visa issue and Indians being mistreated in the U.S.

Odisha BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab asks if the Indian government will issue an advisory for Indians in U.S.

12.09 p.m.: Rajnath Singh briefs Lok Sabha on Lucknow encounter.

12 noon: Question Hour comes to an end.

Zero Hour begins. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan praises ISRO’s feat of launching a record 104 satellites into the orbit.

11.54 a.m.: Question Hour discusses reforms in mining sector.

Minister of State (Independent Charge), Mines Piyush Goyal says that the processes will be transparent. State governments are verifying mining operations and all this is being monitored by satellites as well.

11.35 a.m.: Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari says that toll plazas will become cashless. All issues will be fixed soon.

11.22 a.m.: Minister of State for Rural Development Ram Kripal Yadav says, “ICDS workers are being trained and ministries are working to ensure regular vaccinations.”

Congress MP Ashok Chavan says many children face malnutrition in Maharashtra, asks Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) for new schemes in the state.

11.17 a.m.: In Lok Sabha, AIADMK MP P. Venugopal says he wants to raise the issue of Tamil Nadu’s fishermen. The Speaker says that it can be discussed in Zero Hour.

11.11 a.m.: Rajya Sabha adjourned till 11 a.m. tomorrow.

11.09 a.m.: Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh speaks in Lok Sabha: Incidents regarding Indians in the USA taken very seriously, statement on behalf of Govt of India will be given in the Parliament next week.

Following is today’s list of business in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha:

Lok Sabha:

Bills for consideration and passing:

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016;

The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims), 2016.

Rajya Sabha:

Bill for consideration and passing:

The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016.

Further discussion on the Union Budget for 2017-18.

Ahead of the second part of the budget session at the Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the media.

Prime Minister Narender Modi along with Parliamentry Affairs Ministers Anantha Kumar, Inderjit Singh and S.S. Ahluwalia, addresses media prior to the session at Parliament House on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Shanker Chakravarty

10.35 a.m.: Hoping to see breakthrough in GST, all states and parties have shown a positive approach: Modi

10.30 a.m.: There will be a detailed discussion on the Budget and I am sure the level of debate and discussion will be of good quality. Matters that will benefit the poor will be discussed during this session: Modi.