Aug 2016 – Apr 2017

Bihar Child Support Programme: A Conditional Cash Transfer Pilot

Country

India – South Asia

To improve maternal and child nutrition outcomes through the use of conditional cash transfers.

$371,582 Multi-Year Grant Value

Other funders

  • DFID -

  • Government of Bihar

In Bihar, 30.4% of women are underweight, 58.3% of pregnant women are anaemic and 48.3% children under 5 are stunted (National Family Health Survey, 2015/16). The Government of Bihar has been implementing a pilot conditional cash transfer (CCT) scheme aimed at improving maternal and child nutrition outcomes since 2014. CIFF’s investment supports a pilot that will establish the feasibility of delivering a monthly conditional cash transfer through the government system in a way that is scalable and sustainable.

The Bihar Child Support Programme (BCSP) is targeted at pregnant women and mothers of young children, with the aim of reducing maternal and child undernutrition. Under the scheme, women enrol upon completion of the first trimester of pregnancy and receive Rs 250 per month directly into their bank account upon meeting certain conditions for a period of 30 months (i.e. until the child is two years of age). Conditions for the receipt of cash may include attendance at village health, sanitation and nutrition days, correct treatment of diarrhoea, or exclusive breastfeeding up until six months. A bonus of Rs 2,000 is also received if the child is not underweight at age two and the mother has not become pregnant again.

Impact

A prospectively designed, mixed methods impact evaluation is being undertaken to generate evidence on the effectiveness, impact and relative cost-effectiveness of the programme.  

A baseline and midline household survey, two operational reviews and one qualitative study have been undertaken so far. The midline shows very promising results including
 • reduction in the proportion of women who are underweight by eight percentage points; and
 • increases in maternal diet diversity as well as uptake of community public health and nutrition services incentivised by the programme. 

We expect the endline, which will assess the ultimate impact on rates of stunting or wasting among children under the age of two will be undertaken between Januray-March 2017, with results available in April 2017.


CIFF will support strong advocacy to ensure a clear pathway for uptake of evidence for policy and programmes at the national level and to transfer the learnings to other states especially CIFF priority state Rajasthan.  . Furthermore, the pilot makes a strong contribution to the literature on CCTs as it is the only government implemented pilot of its type, with a strong concurrent impact evaluation in India.