The onset of puberty and the menstrual cycle are fundamental and healthy parts of a woman's life. But there are still so many women in India who suffer because of the shame and unnecessary stigma attached to menstruation. Things are slowly changing in India now, and the government has taken yet another step towards promoting menstrual hygiene.
In an interview with PTI, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya announced that the government will slash the price of sanitary napkins sold at its Jan Aushadhi Kendras from Rs2.50 to Re 1 per piece.
Mandaviya said, "We are launching oxo-biodegradable sanitary napkins at Re 1 from August 27. These napkins, under the brand name Suvidha, will be available at 5,500 Jan Aushadhi Kendras across the country."
Mandaviya took to his Twitter to share a picture from the announcement event and wrote, "#WomenEmpowerment isn't about just featuring successful women, it is about focusing on health, hygiene & comfort of women across the country. Proud to launch #Suvidha now at just ₹1/pad. This will ensure hygienic periods to crores of my sisters and mothers. #SuvidhaHuaSasta"
Irnoically, there are no women in a picture promoting women's empowerment, something that did not escape Twitter's notice. Regardless, this is a welcome move, and we hope that women were at least consulted and heard while this scheme was being conceptualised.
On being asked about the total annual expenditure on the subsidy, Mandaviya said that it will depend on the sales volume. "During the last one year, around 2.2 crore sanitary napkins have been sold from these stores. With a reduction in the prices, we expect the sales to jump over two times. We are focusing on quality, affordability and accessibility."
He also said that the sanitary napkins scheme was announced in March 2018 and those were made available in the Jan Aushadhi Kendras from May 2018.
Talking about how the government plans to go about it, he said, "Currently, the manufacturers are supplying the sanitary napkins at their cost of production. So, we will provide a subsidy to bring down the retail price."
Currently, a pack of branded sanitary napkins containing about eight pads costs close to Rs 40. Subsidised rates of napkins will make them available to more women who cannot afford them.
Isn't that great?
Featured Image: Twitter
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