On the eve of International Women's Day, Maharashtra government plans to roll out Asmita Yojana, a scheme under which sanitary napkins will be sold at an affordable price - at Rs 5 per packet for schoolgoing girls and at Rs 24 and Rs 29 per packet for rural women.
Due to the stigma attached with menstruation, less than 60 percent of girls and women in India menstruate hygienically. Even if not for the taboos surrounding menstruation, lot of schoolgoing girls in rural India drop out after puberty because they cannot afford hygienic means of menstruation. Talking about the importance of Asmita Yojana, an official with the Maharashtra government told IANS,
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.
With Asmita Yojana, the government does not intend to just sell sanitary napkins but also create awareness about menstruation and bust myths surrounding it.
Women self-help groups have been entrusted with the sale of sanitary napkins and with counseling girls about menstruation. Young girls will be given Asmita cards, which will ease the purchase of sanitary napkins without the embarrassment usually attached with it. Talking about the role of SHGs, an official told PTI,
The SHGs will have to procure sanitary napkins from suppliers by registering on the Asmita mobile application and distribute them to rural women and girls as per the requirement and demand
While ensuring increased attendance in schools and decrease in the percentage of female dropouts, Asmita Yojana also aims at providing means of livelihood to women.
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