BHUBANESWAR: Sanitary napkins will now be provided free of cost to girl students of government and government-aided schools in the State. This was announced by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday.The scheme, named Khushi, will benefit 17 lakh girl students from Class VI to XII and cost the State exchequer `70 crore per annum.In addition to this, the State Government will also expand social marketing of sanitary napkins for women and girls at the community at subsidised rates, Naveen said.
“I am sure this step will go a long way in promoting health and hygiene among school going adolescent girls leading to higher retention in schools and greater empowerment of women,” Naveen said.Presently, girl students in Odisha get free bicycles, school uniforms and books from the State Government.
Stating that his Government is committed to empowerment of women, the Chief Minister said, “From Mission Shakti to Mamata and 50 per cent reservation for women, these have been the focal points of all our key interventions.”
Minister for Health and Family Welfare Pratap Jena told mediapersons that the scheme will be implemented by the Government from its own resources. The scheme has been launched by the Chief Minister to inculcate habit of hygiene among women and girls during their monthly menstrual cycle, Jena added.The Government will also provide sanitary napkins free of cost to women delivering children or those having abortion in all government hospitals, Jena said. Besides, these two initiatives sanitary napkins will also be provided at `6 for six pack by Asha karmis in rural as well as urban areas, he added.