The Maharashtra cabinet has approved a scheme to provide sanitary napkins at affordable rates to women and schoolgoing girls in rural areas. The government plans to implement this under the Asmita scheme from March 8, International Women’s Day.
Officials from the Rural Development department said a health survey carried out in villages revealed hygiene issues due to non-usage of sanitary napkins. It was also observed that the girls in the age group of 11 to 19 years were absent at school for 50-60 days a year, said an official.
“So, the scheme is aimed at providing sanitary napkins at affordable rates to women and schoolgoing girls. The women’s self help groups will be providing the sanitary napkins in the villages. Besides, they will also create awareness about the scheme in villages,” said an official.
The official further said that Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission would be the nodal agency for implementing the scheme. While a packet of sanitary napkins for women will cost either Rs 24 or Rs 29 based on size, the cost will be Rs 5 per packet for school-going girls between age group of 11 and 19 years.
Women’s self help groups will procure these from the manufacturer finalised by the state government and the government will provide a subsidy to the self help groups, added the official.
“We will try to implement the scheme from March 8, International Women’s Day. Due to its cost, the use of sanitary napkins is only 17 per cent. Besides, the girls’ attendance in the school is also an important issue…,” said Pankaja Munde, state Rural Development minister.