Akshay Kumar’s film PadMan on menstrual hygiene continues to work towards the cause of making sanitary pads affordable to women of rural Maharashtra. In a Women’s Day initiative Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis yesterday launched the state government’s ‘Asmita Yogana’ scheme to make sanitary napkins easily accessible to adolescents in all districts. Joining him was the Bollywood superstar himself who later tweeted, “Congrats to the Maharashtra Government & Hon. CM @Dev Fadnavis ji & @Pankajamunde ji for the launch of #Asmita scheme on #WomensDay to make sanitary pads available to girls & women from rural areas at very subsidized rates.”
The Chief Minister said the Asmita Yogana will emerge as a model scheme for the country. Fadnavis stated, “This scheme will bring about a massive social change. The shyness among girls regarding this issue will reduce and this will help improve their health.” Akshay lauded the scheme under which a packet of eight sanitary pads will be made available to girl students of Zilla Parishad schools for Rs 5. Sanitary napkins will also be sold at 62 paise apiece to rural women under the scheme by women self-help groups. The state’s Department of Rural Development will run awareness campaigns across Maharashtra about this initiative. The idea is to increase the usage of sanitary napkins and thus work towards lowering their cost. An elevation to 70% from 17% of usage is aimed at to be able to achieve the desired price.
Akshay also said, “For bringing about a scheme such as Asmita Yogana, I want to give Women and Child Development Minister Pankaja Munde the title of ‘PadWoman.’ People should go on the Asmita app and contribute to the cause of sanitary pads. With the help of the funds gathered, Maharashtra can achieve 100 per cent use of sanitary pads.” Talking about this initiative, Pankaja Munde said, “When it comes to menstrual hygiene in rural areas, there are certain myths and superstitions associated with menstruation. Through a survey we found that only 17% women use sanitary pads in villages. Keeping this in mind, we thought of developing this scheme”