Mumbai

In Palghar, sanitary napkin scheme is a lot of hot air

Women wait in queue to cast their vote at a zilla parishad school in Mokhada in Palghar. They are yet to enjoy benefits of government schemes due to lack of awareness.

Women wait in queue to cast their vote at a zilla parishad school in Mokhada in Palghar. They are yet to enjoy benefits of government schemes due to lack of awareness.   | Photo Credit: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

Few women know of its existence, while others are clueless about whom to get in touch with to access the napkins at subsidised rates

A year after the State government unveiled Asmita Yojana, which promised sanitary napkins at subsidised rates to women in rural Maharashtra, women from Palghar district are yet to enjoy its benefits due to lack of awareness about the scheme.

On International Women’s Day last year, the government kicked off the scheme under which eight sanitary napkins would be given to girls between 11 and 19 years studying in zilla parishad schools at ₹5, and women above 19 years at ₹25.

The scheme required self-help groups (SHGs) to register themselves with their gram panchayats and prepare a list of girls studying in zilla parishad schools. After registration, the students would get a smart card, which the SHGs members would scan using the Asmita app and dispatch a packet of sanitary napkins.

 

Social activist Sita Ghatal from Vikramgad, who works with Shramajeevi Sanghatna in Palghar, said several meetings on the scheme were conducted last year. She said, “Women in the village were quite excited, but till date no one knows how the scheme has progressed.”

Olympia Ferreira, a teacher at a zilla parishad school in Vasai, said she filled forms for the scheme for her students last year. “After submitting the forms, the girls got smart cards, but we have no clue how to use these cards,” she said.

A forgotten scheme

Pranita Ghatal, Upa Gram Sevika of Vilsheth village, said, “We didn’t know whom to contact. There was so much confusion that we couldn’t find out why the scheme was not working. After a point, everybody forgot about it,” she said. Deepika Gupte, a daily wager from Ghaneghar village, said, “Women use cloth even today. During summers, this leads to skin allergies. It gets worse when they are working in the field in the scorching heat.”

District Collector Prashant Narnavre, however, said, 1.6 lakh sanitary napkins have been distributed through Asmita Yojna over the past year. Feedback was taken from the beneficiaries of the scheme and the response has been positive, he said. “Through anganwadis, we have installed incinerators in ashram schools and Kasturba Gandhi schools for girls to dispose of used sanitary napkins,” Mr. Narnavre said.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 6:02:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/in-palghar-sanitary-napkin-scheme-is-a-lot-of-hot-air/article27131036.ece

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