The state government of Maharashtra would be launching its new programme, ‘Asmita Yojana’ on the occasion of the International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018 to provide cheap and subsidised sanitary pads to school girls and women.
Under the scheme, girls studying in Zilla Parishad schools will get sanitary napkin packets at Rs 5, while rural women would be able to avail it at a subsidised rate of Rs.24 and Rs.29.
The move comes at a time when attempts are being made to remove the taboo associated with the topic of menstrual hygiene by spreading awareness through various mediums including social networking sites, cinema and social campaigns.
About Asmita Yojana
• The Yojana was announced by the Minister of Rural Development, Women and Child Welfare Pankaja Munde in 2017.
• The Yojana aims to raise awareness regarding hygiene during periods, especially among girls between the age group of 11 and 19 years and also women in general in the rural areas of Maharashtra.
• According to reports, only 17 per cent of the women in rural areas of Maharashtra use sanitary napkins. The main reason for the same is high costs of sanitary pads, their unavailability in rural areas and awkwardness among women to purchase them from male chemists.
• The state government has appointed ‘Umed’, the Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission, as the nodal agency for effective implementation of the scheme.
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Workings of the Scheme
Under the scheme, the beneficiaries will be given ‘Asmita Cards’, while participating Self Help Groups (SHGs) will be entrusted with the task of the supply and sale of sanitary pads and counselling the girls and women.
The SHGs would 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.
The concerned SHGs will earn Rs 5 in profit per sanitary packet.
The move is expected to boost school attendance in the state’s rural areas.
It is also expected to help create employment opportunities for women in rural areas and create awareness about health and education.
The launch of the scheme would witness the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, whose recent film ‘Padman’ also envisioned to create awareness about menstrual hygiene among rural women.
Besides this, the state would also be launching a hygiene campaign to increase awareness among young girls on the usage of sanitary pads.
What: To launch Asmita Yojana
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