Karnataka Govt relaunches scheme to give free sanitary pads to 19 lakh school, college girls

PTI, Feb 28, 2024, 8:25 PM IST

After it was stalled for the last four years, Karnataka Government on Wednesday re-started the Shuchi scheme for menstrual hygiene by supplying sanitary napkins to around 19 lakh adolescent girls at the school and college levels.

According to officials, through the relaunched scheme, the Karnataka Health Department will provide free sanitary napkins to around 19 lakh girls (aged 10 to 18 years) in government and aided schools and colleges across the state. The health department will directly deliver sanitary pads to the schools which will be distributed to the girls by the heads. Each kit would have 10 sanitary napkins in a pack. Napkins required for one year will be given to the girl students. Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao said this scheme is important for the hygiene and health of girl students.

Earlier, the project was started by the previous Siddaramaiah-led state government. However, Rao said, he doesn’t know why such an important project was stopped by the later (BJP-led) government. ”In our Congress government, after I became the Health Minister, I had announced that the scheme would be revived,” he said.

While the Congress government has implemented Shakti and Gruha Lakshmi Scheme in favour of women, the Shuchi Yojana, which was started with a collective vision for girls’ health, cannot be ignored, he said. “We are providing free sanitary napkins to 19 lakh school and college girls at a cost of 47 crores. Girls from very poor families cannot not afford it,” he said. The Minister also emphasised that menstruation is a natural process and that there is no need for girls to be hesitant about this. There are some superstitions attached to it and it is important to get rid of them and create awareness about cleanliness and the use of sanitary napkins, he said.

Cleanliness and scientific management of menstruation are important for girls’ health, he added. “As an alternative to sanitary pads, we have implemented a pilot program in two districts to distribute menstrual cups under Shuchi Yojana. Menstrual cups are eco-friendly and the project has received a good response,” Rao said. The Health Minister also said that the health department will take up a program to create more awareness about the use of menstrual cups instead of sanitary pads.

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