Tamil Nadu

Coronavirus | Declare sanitary pads an essential commodity, says ‘Padman’ Arunachalam Muruganantham

Arunachalam Muruganantham. Photo: File   | Photo Credit: S. Siva Saravanan

Sanitary pads for women should be declared an essential commodity and their production should be allowed as there was an alarming demand and scarcity during the COVID-19 lockdown period, ‘Padman’ Arunachalam Muruganantham said. He also urged ensuring the availability of raw material for the manufacture of sanitary pads.

Mr. Muruganantham, the celebrated social entrepreneur from Coimbatore, whose low-cost sanitary pad-making machine brought about a revolution in rural India encouraging women to come out of unhygienic practices over menstruation, said, “We have been receiving a lot of phone calls on disruption in the supply of pads. It is to be taken seriously.”

Also read: Meet Muruganantham, the real Pad Man

While the lockdown’s goal was to keep everyone healthy, disruption in manufacture and distribution of pads and procurement of raw material would defeat the purpose, he noted.


“Due to the non-availability of pads, women will have no choice but go back to practicing unhygienic methods of using rag cloth etc., during their periods. After so much effort, we brought them out of such practices earlier but this lockdown should not stop the supply of pads,” he said.

India was not about metros alone and in rural India, “the situation can get worse,” Mr. Muruganantham said pointing to the fact that mensuration was still a taboo topic in many such areas. Both Central and State governments had taken tremendous steps, including slashing GST for pads, to raise awareness and make women follow hygienic practices, he added.

“All this has made India a frontrunner in spreading awareness on menstrual hygiene. All this effort might go to waste if we don’t take necessary steps now,” he contended and urged authorities to permit all pad manufacturers as well as Women Self Help Groups to start operation while following physical distancing norms


Mr. Muruganantham said he received calls informing him that his machines had run out of raw material. “The total number of low-cost sanitary pad making machines installed in the country are more than 25,000. Of these, 5,000 are the machines that I made. In all these places, the women who run the units are saying that they do not have raw material to make pads,” he said. Further, they were unable to distribute the pads that have been made.

“If the women do not get pads for two cycles, they will go back to unhygienic practices. It will affect their health. The government should pay attention to this issue,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 11:53:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/coronavirus-declare-sanitary-pads-an-essential-commodity-says-padman-arunachalam-muruganantham/article31438828.ece

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