Maharashtra government will roll out Asmita Yojana on the International Women’s Day (March 8, 2018) to provide affordable (subsidised) sanitary pads to school girls and women. Under the scheme, schoolgirls studying in Zilla Parishad schools will get sanitary napkin packet at Rs 5 while rural women can avail it at subsidised rate of Rs.24 and Rs.29.
The state government has appointed “Umed’, the Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission, as a nodal agency for effective implementation of the scheme. Under the scheme, beneficiary girls will be given Asmita Cards. Participating Self Help Groups (SHGs) will be entrusted with the task of supply and sale of sanitary pads and counselling the girls and women.
The SHGs will procure sanitary napkins from suppliers by registering on Asmita mobile application and distribute them to rural women and girls as per requirement and demand. The SHGs concerned will earn Rs 5 in profit per sanitary packet.
There is very little awareness about menstrual hygiene during periods among girls in the age group of 11 to 19 years and women in general in rural areas of Maharashtra. Only 17% of them use sanitary napkins. The main reasons for such low usage of sanitary napkins are high costs of pads, their unavailability in rural areas and awkwardness among women to purchase them from male chemists.
The scheme will promote menstrual hygiene and increase awareness among young girls on usage of sanitary pads. It will help to reduce school absenteeism i.e. boost school attendance among school girls. Similarly, it will help to create employment opportunities for women in rural areas and create awareness about health and education.