Maha: Rural schoolgirls to get sanitary napkins at 5 Rs

The Maharashtra government approved a proposal to provide sanitary napkins at a subsidised rate of Rs 5 to women in rural areas and plans to implement it from March 8, on International Women’s Day


  • The state cabinet approved a proposal to launch, Asmita (meaning dignity) — a scheme to make sanitary pads available to girls aged between 11 and 19.
  • It has engaged three small scale manufacturers, to supply the pads using a network of self- help groups (SHGs) run by women in the state. The pack of 8 pads, costing the government Rs 24 (240mm) and Rs 29 (280mm) including profits for the SHGs, will be subsidised to Rs 5 for the girls.

There is lack of awareness in the rural women about menstruation. During menses, many schoolgirls avoid going to school. So, to help the rural women acquire sanitary pads at an affordable rate, the state government has undertaken the ‘Asmita’ Scheme. It intends to increase the percentage of usage of sanitary pads to 75 % from the current 17 % in rural Maharashtra.

As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) IV:

  • 62% young women in the country in the age group 15 to 24 years use cloth for menstrual protection.
  • 42% women use sanitary napkins.
  • 16% use locally prepared napkins.
  • The survey was conducted in the year 2015-2016.

As per the findings of the survey, Majority of women in rural areas did not use a hygienic method of menstrual protection with the survey findings indicating that only 48% of those surveyed in rural India used sanitary napkins during their menstrual cycle as against 78% in urban parts of the country.