Govt. launches centrally-sourced-and-distributed pads on International Women’s Day
New Delh: Menstrual hygiene just took the centrestage. After months of debate around exempting sanitary napkins from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) net, the Centre yesterday chose the occasion of International Women’s Day to launch centrally-sourced and distributed low-cost biodegradable sanitary pads for anyone who would care to use.
A set of four such pads will cost Rs. 10 and will be easy to use and dispose of on account of biodegradability. Called “Suvidha”, these will be sold through the government’s drug dispensing stores called Jan Aushadhi Kendras. There are 3,200 such Kendras across 586 districts — a massive expansion from 99 similar outlets in 2014.
The launch is revolutionary for India’s ongoing cleanliness campaign and also for its virtually negligible cost. One pad will cost just Rs. 2.50 as against the current average cost of Rs. 8 for a non-biodegradable napkin of companies.
Launching the product close on the heels of release of Akshay Kumar-starrer Pad Man, which helped focus attention on the issue, Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister H.N. Ananth Kumar said, “These napkins will address three challenges of health, convenience and cleanliness — Swasthya, Suvidha and Swachhatha.”
He also cited the prices of a set of four napkins currently being marketed and added, “No woman would now have to use unhygienic health accessories for the want of being unable to afford these.” The availability of low-cost health products in the form of sanitary napkins is the fourth in the line of other similar products whose prices were slashed over the recent past.
These include 800 drug formulations to cure a range of non-communicable diseases, cardiac stents and orthopaedic implants. The Central Government is now reviewing possibilities of capping the prices of ocular lenses.
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