February 3, 2018 2:02:44 am
Kamla (48) has three daughters — all of whom study at a government school in the city. Two of her daughters have hit puberty. For almost one-and-a-half-years now, Kamla, a homemaker, has been struggling to adjust her monthly budget to buy sanitary napkins for her daughters.
Earlier, Kamla’s daughters, and about eight lakh other girls studying in state-run schools used to get a packet of sanitary napkins each month from school. Distribution of free pads in government schools was part of the Kishori Yojana Scheme — started by former CM Sheila Dikshit in 2011. However, the scheme was scrapped in 2016.
“Every month, the girls used to get a packet. Now, I have to spend Rs 35 for a single packet and my daughters need at least two each every month. This has added to our struggle as we have limited financial resources. I am compromising on my own hygiene by using old clothes when I menstruate,” said Kamla, who lives in a colony at Nardan Basti in Tughlakabad.
In November 2016, the girls were made to sign a paper and told that they will no longer get free sanitary napkins.
However, an RTI filed by NGO Matri Sudha on January 5 this year shows that the government had allocated Rs 16 crore in the 2017-2018 fiscal for sanitary napkins. But not a rupee from the budget has been spent.
The RTI also shows that the budget for the same in 2016-2017 was Rs 16 crore, but only Rs 9.31 crore was spent on the scheme. This, despite distribution being stopped in November 2016. In 2015-2016, the government had spent Rs 13.15 crore on the scheme.
Sapna, a Class XI student of Aruna Asaf Ali Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Tughlakabad, said, “Earlier, the school monitor or the teacher would give us the pads. Now, we don’t get them. I ask my grandmother for money to buy the napkins.”
In March 2016, when there were reports about the scheme being discontinued after the vendor pulled out, the Directorate of Education (DoE) said it had asked the company, with whom they had a contract, to find another vendor.
However, since November 2016, the supplies stopped.
School principals are also not aware why the scheme was stopped mid-way. “We have no idea why this was done,” said A K Jha, principal of a government school in Rohini’s Sector 8.
DoE Director Saumya Gupta and advisor to the education minister Atishi Marlena did not respond to queries on the issue.
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