Mumbai: Mumbaikars interested in sponsoring sanitary napkins for school students in rural Maharashtra can now visit the state women and children development department’s ‘Asmita scheme’ portal and pay Rs 182.40 for a year-long supply of pads to the ones in need. The portal (https://mahaasmita.mahaonline.gov.in/) was launched on Thursday after the cabinet approved of the scheme this month.
The state government has launched ‘ASMITA Yojana’ to distribute subsidised sanitary napkins to the rural women in the state.
“We decided to launch the scheme after we realised that the penetration of sanitary napkins was as low as 17%. I found that school girls in Maharashtra miss up to 40 days a year because of a lack of access and money to buy sanitary napkins. This had to change,” said Pankaja Munde, women and child development minister.
Under the scheme, girls will be given ‘Asmita’ sanitary napkins produced by global agencies which are procured through Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission. Self-help groups will distribute and sell the napkins for a subsidised cost of Rs 5 for a pack of eight. The government will pay a subsidy of Rs 15.29 for every pack.
“Within minutes of launching the portal, a Khandala woman sponsored five girls for yearly supply. This is what we aim at,” said Munde. She also added that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was the first donor who sponsored 50 girls for a year. The scheme is for rural women and adolescent girls of Zilla Parishad school in the age group of 11 and 19 years. For adolescent girls packet of 8 pads of sanitary pads are provided at subsidised price of Rs 5. A packet of eight napkins will cost rural women Rs 24 or Rs 29, depending on the size. All the girls and women will be given Asmita cards.
The state government plans to formally launch the scheme on March 8, which is Women’s Day, by inviting actor Akshay Kumar, who recently portrayed the role of social entrepreneur in the movie ‘PadMan’ which was based on Arunachalam Muruganantham.