Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis late Monday evening left the official residence of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde after holding a meeting on Maratha reservation which saw violent incidents in the state.
On the occasion of the International Women’s Day on 8 March, the Maharashtra Government will launch Asmita Yojana, a scheme that aims to tackle the taboo around menstrual hygiene.
As part of its awareness programme, the scheme will provide sanitary pad packet for Rs 5 to girl students in district schools. Women in rural areas will be provided packs of sanitary pads for Rs 24 or Rs 29.
The pads will be distributed by Self Help Groups (SHG). The beneficiaries will be provided with ‘Asmita Cards’.
The price of the pads has been kept low to ensure that more girls and women can avail of the same. High cost and the fact that sanitary pads – already not widely available in rural areas – are mostly sold in chemist shops run by males often contribute to the lack of awareness.
Lack of awareness and sanitary pads also leads to absenteeism from schools.
Announced in 2017 by Women and Child and Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde, the much-needed awareness scheme will go on to improve the condition of women in a state where only 17 per cent reportedly use sanitary napkins.
A government appointed nodal agency will implement the scheme.
According to reports, the scheme will be launched by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, whose widely-praised film ‘Padman’ was the first ever Bollywood film on the subject of menstrual hygiene in rural women.
It should be noted that various sections of the society and some political parties are demanding slashing of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on sanitary napkins.