CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government on the occasion of International Menstrual Hygiene Day on Friday launched a scheme to provide free sanitary napkins to needy girls and women across the state.
An amount of Rs 40.55 crore per annum will be incurred on the scheme, called 'Udaan', Punjab Social Security, Women and Child Development Minister Aruna Chaudhary said in a statement.
The new scheme would cover school drop-outs, out-of-school girls, young women not attending college, women from BPL families, homeless women, residents of slum areas, and those who are not availing free or subsidised sanitary pads under any scheme of other departments, she said.
A maximum of nine pads would be given to each beneficiary per month, she added.
Chaudhary said that under the first phase, a total 1,22,91,300 sanitary pads would be distributed to 13,65,700 beneficiaries through workers and helpers of 27,314 Anganwari centres.
The purpose of the sceme was to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene, improve accessibility to basic products, promote better standard of living, she said.
She also said the women-oriented scheme was aimed at improving the quality of life, enhance their self esteem and ensure safe disposal of sanitary pads.
On the launch ceremony, one lakh packets of sanitary pads were distributed at 1,500 online locations as well as at other Anganwari centres in the state, the statement said.
The Minister said a State Task Force, comprising senior officers of various departments, was constituted to monitor the overall progress and smooth implementations of the scheme.
Every month, the government-approved empanelled laboratories would conduct quality testing of sanitary napkins, she said.