New Delhi: Adolescent girls and women residing in rural areas of India’s second most populous state, Maharashtra will now be able to procure sanitary napkins at a subsidised rate. In what may be hailed as a remarkable move towards menstrual hygiene, the state government has approved a plan to provide a pack of eight sanitary napkins for only Rs 5. The state cabinet ended the first month of 2018 by announcing the good news. The decision comes a week after the Bombay High Court asked the state government to consider cutting down the cost of these napkins to make these available at concessional rates.
Under the Asmita Yojana of the state government, sanitary napkins of different sizes will be made available at a discounted rate by the local Self-Help Groups (SHGs). Women from SHGs will manufacture the pads ensuring proper hygiene and health care. In addition to this, these groups will also impart education to rural women on ways to maintain health and personal hygiene during the menstruating days.
Minister for Rural Development, Women and Child Development, Pankaja Gopinath Munde tweeted,
“#Asmita scheme got cabinet nod. Now sanitary napkins will be available to girls n women thro’ Self Help groups. Also women hygiene campaign will be launched across state to increase awareness among young girls. This will boost school attendance as well @MinistryWCD @CMOMaharashtra”
#Asmita scheme got cabinet nod. Now sanitary napkins will b available to girls n women thro' Self Help groups. Also women hygiene campaign will b launched across state to increase awareness among young girls. This will boost school attendance as well @MinistryWCD @CMOMaharashtra
— Pankaja Gopinath Munde (@Pankajamunde) January 30, 2018
“Due to lack of proper care during the menstrual period, there have been many health-related problems pertaining to reproduction in women and girls, according to a health survey conducted in rural areas,” the official told IANS.
As per a health survey conducted in rural parts of Maharashtra, school and college-going girls in the age-group of 11-19 skip school for 50-60 days in a year during their menstrual cycles, affecting both their health and academics. To overcome this situation, the health workers will also conduct exclusive classes for these young girls, sensitise them and help them break away from the period taboo.
The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The entire scheme will be implemented by the Rural Development Department under the Maharashtra State Rural Jivonnati Campaign with the Additional Director of Family Welfare Department functioning as the Nodal Officer. A total of Rs 3 crore have been allotted to the scheme which will cover girls in 36 districts of the state.