In a significant decision, the Maharashtra government approved a plan to provide sanitary napkins to women in rural areas at subsidized rates to promote hygiene and reduce school absenteeism.
The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting presided over by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
"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," the official said.
Accordingly, the health workers will not only sensitize and create awareness about personal hygiene among the 11-19 age group of girls in mofussil areas, but also provide sanitary napkins at subsidized rates under the Asmita Yojana of the state government.
The official said the survey has revealed that school and college-going girls in the age-group of 11-19 have remained absent for 50-60 days in a year during their menstrual cycles, affecting both their health and academics.
The Asmita Yojana will provide packets of different sizes of sanitary napkins at a discounted rate of minimum Rs 5 per packet through self-help groups which will help prevent health issues and curb absenteeism from classes.
These self-help groups will also disseminate information related to health, personal hygiene and education through mass communication modes to the rural womenfolk.
The entire scheme will be implemented by the Rural Development Department under the Maharashtra State Rural Jivonnati Campaign with the Additional Director of Family Welfare Department functioning as the Nodal Officer.