NEW DELHI: The government, on Thursday, announced the launch of 100 per cent bio-degradable sanitary napkins, to be called “Suvidha”, under the under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana.
The development comes days after the union women and child minister Maneka Gandhi expressing intent, ahead of the release of Akshaya Kumar starrer Pad Man, to make policy intervention to ensure that large number of rural women have access to low-cost sanitary napkins. ahead of the release of Akshaya Kumar starrer Pad Man.
Pad Man, which released last month is a film inspired by the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, a social entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu who introduced low cost sanitary pads. It had also triggered a nation-wide debate on the poor sanitation practices followed by menstruating women in most rural areas.
While launching the ‘Suvidha” napkins, which will be sold at a cost of Rs 2.50 each at 3200 generic drug stores across the country from May this year, Ananthkumar, the union minister for chemical and fertilizers said that the scheme was aimed at making lives easy for women belonging to underprivileged sections.
As per the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, about 58 percent of women aged between 15 to 24 years use locally prepared napkins, sanitary napkins and tampons.
The survey had also found that about 78 percent women in urban areas use hygienic methods of protection during menstrual period; only 48 percent women in rural areas have access to clean sanitary napkins.
The minister stressed that this is one of the most important requirements in ensuring the Health Security to that section of Women in India who still use unhygienic aids during menstrual periods due to non-affordability of some of the popular brands of sanitary napkins available in the market today.
“Such unhygienic aids cause fungal infections, Reproductive Tract Infection, Urinary Tract Infection, Cervical cancer and also make women vulnerable to infertility,” said the minister. “Moreover, the disposal of non-biodegradable sanitary napkins available today creates a huge environmental problem but the biodegradable napkins will lead to cleanliness.”