GUWAHATI: Taking a cue from the Bollywood biographical movie Pad Man, the Assam government Monday announced a scheme where an annual stipend of Rs 600 will be given to girls aged 12-20 years for procuring sanitary napkins.
The announcement was made by the state’s health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma during the presentation of Budget on Monday. The government also announced scholarship for girl students belonging to minority community, two-wheelers for meritorious girl students etc.
“Our government’s resolve to improve women’s health and safeguard her dignity cannot be stronger! It is of concern that even in the 21st century Assam, many of our sisters cannot consistently access or afford the monthly cost of disposable menstrual products and revert to less hygienic solutions…Therefore, I announce a policy to ensure the ease of access to disposable sanitary napkins...
“My sisters in Assam between the ages of 12-20 years – and whose family income is below Rs.5 lakh – can avail of an annual stipend of Rs.600 which will be directly transferred to her bank account. The registration will be through Block Development Offices. This will be linked to their date of birth and payments will automatically stop once they reach the age of 20 years. The amount will encourage the use of good quality hygienic products,” Sarma said while presenting the Budget. Around five lakh girls are expected to be benefitted by the scheme during 2018-19.
The government also announced a scheme to support girls belonging to minority community to further aid and incentivise them to keep pursuing higher education. Towards this end, an annual scholarship of Rs 2,000, Rs 4,000, Rs 6,000 and Rs 10,000 was announced for girl students belonging to minority community studying in class X, XI, XII, graduation and post-graduation respectively.
He also said that the top 5000 girl students, who pass class XII exams this year, will be provided with a two-wheeler each.
“In my previous Budget, I had announced that we will provide two-wheelers to the top 1000 girl students who pass class XII exams in 2017. This objective was to provide easy access to them for higher education. I would like to take this initiative further. This year, we will provide two-wheelers to top 5000 girl students who pass the exams,” Sarma said.
As there is no provision for unmarried daughters of pensioners to receive pension benefits in the event of the pensioner’s death, the government decided that unmarried daughters of pensioners would be eligible to avail of pension in the event of a pensioner’s death.
The government also amended an existing rule for extension of life time family pension to the disabled son or daughter of government servants irrespective of the date of retirement or death of the employee. The amendment was made for the benefits of disabled son or daughter of employees.