Minister for Information Technology M. Manikandan and Collector S. Natarajan donned the roles of family members as they presented ‘seer’ (gifts) to first-time expectant mothers at the ‘Samudhaya Valaikappu’ (community baby shower) ceremony here on Saturday.
The Valampuri Mahal, the venue for the function, burst with excitement as about 200 pregnant women, mostly first time expectant young mothers from poor families, assembled for the traditional ceremony, normally conducted in the seventh or ninth month of their pregnancy at their mothers’ places.
As most of the families could not afford to perform the ceremony at their homes, ‘Amma’ came out with the idea of the community baby shower ceremony, Mr. Manikandan said while addressing the function. A physician, the Minister gave tips to the pregnant women to be happy and stress-free for delivery of healthy babies.
“You should be healthy, both mentally and physically, and visit the doctor for periodical check ups,” the Minister said and warned them against taking medicine without doctors’ prescription. They should take nutritious food, read books and listen to music, he said.
Pregnant women were given Rs. 12,000 in three instalments under Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy Maternity Benefit Scheme and efforts were taken to increase the amount to Rs. 18,000, he said. He and Mr. Natarajan distributed ‘seer,’ a gift plate containing fruits, blouse piece and bangles, to the young women and blessed them. Officials of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), which had arranged the ceremony, said there were about 1,200 pregnant women visiting government hospitals in the district and they proposed to cover all of them in batches in the ceremony.
Local MP A. Anwar Raja, Paramakudi MLA S. Muthiah, District Project Officer of ICDS Krishnaveni, District Panchayat Union Chairman M. Sundarapandian and District Social Welfare Officer C. Gunasekari were present at the function.
Earlier, the Minister distributed welfare assistance to 1,113 beneficiaries worth Rs. 78.18 lakh. The beneficiaries included differently abled people, who were given artificial limbs at a function held at the Collectorate. The Minister also distributed new ration cards and marriage assistance.