The BJP has promised sanitary napkin at Rs1 to all girls and women’s in India in its manifesto. This is part of the manifesto focused on providing women with reproductive and menstrual health. “With the expansion of the ongoing Suvidha scheme, all girls and women will be provided with sanitary pads at an affordable cost of just Rs 1.
The government has been under tremendous pressure from activist groups seeking a slash in sanitary napkin taxes to make it affordable. After months of outrage from women across the country over the government’s decision to levy a 12 percent charge on the essential commodity, the GST Council finally had to exempt sanitary napkins from tax.
Suvidha scheme was launched in March 2018 under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) to offer 100% Oxo-biodegradable Sanitary Napkin. At more than 3200 Janaushadhi Kendrasacross India, the affordable sanitary napkin was made available for Rs. 2.50 per pad and would ensure’ Swachhta, Swasthya and Suvidha’ for the underprivileged Women of India, it had said in its release.
With this new announcement, the government says it will lower the price of the sanitary pad offered. According to the 2015-16 National Family Health Survey, about 58 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 24 use locally prepared napkins, sanitary napkins, and tampons. In addition, about 78 percent of women in urban areas use hygienic protective methods during menstrual periods; only 48 percent of women in rural areas have access to clean sanitary napkins.
Shri Ananthkumar then said in March 2018 that “this is one of the most important requirements for ensuring health security for that section of Women in India who still use unhygienic aids during the menstrual period due to the lack of affordability of some of the popular brands of sanitary napkins available on the market.”