For Assam’s Lily Begam Laskar, delivering 85 babies was not a problem. On paper that is.
This Indian woman made headlines when she was caught, after faking as many as 85 pregnancies, in a bid to extract benefit from India’s safety childbirth scheme. According to the government initiative, any woman who chooses to deliver at a rural medical centre, would get rewarded Rs. 500 for every single delivery.
Sensing an opportunity to make some money from the initiative, Lily Laskar, who is a nurse in a government hospital, showed about 160 deliveries at the state-run clinic, entering herself as the mother in half those cases, earning Rs. 40,000 as part of a scheme for new mothers.
“We discovered the fraud after we decided on an inspection after receiving an anonymous tip off, probably from someone who works at the hospital . What we found was absolutely incredible. The lady faked 85 pregnancies in her name . What also helped her was that she was also in charge of payments so it was not that easy to detect,” said Sarfaraz Haque , a senior government official in the rural Karimganj district, 350 km from the state capital of Guwahati.
Action was taken against Mrs Laskar, when she was suspended for faking such pregnancies. She even apologized for her crime, but stated it was due to the fact that nurses such as her were earning scraps for wages.
“You see, there is a lot of pressure on nurses like us . We obviously don’t get compensated properly for all the work we do. I faked just over 80 pregnancies. Yes I am sorry for it “, Ms Laskar said.