Since 2016, this is the first time that the Delhi government headed by Arvind Kejriwal will resume the Kishori Yojna under which it distributes sanitary napkins to girls of government schools. It is a a flagship programme to provide free napkins to girls studying from Classed 6 to 12.
In some relief to the girls, the scheme is going to resume in the next few days, according to Atishi Marlena, advisor to the Education Minister Manish Sisodia, the Asianage reported.
While the scheme has been functional since 2016, it was only in March 2016 that government distributed napkins to girl student in various government schools. After that, girls who solely depended on government-given sanitary pads went back to using rags and cloths due to the poor financial condition of their parents.
To find why the girls have stopped getting free sanitary napkins NGO Matri Sudha filed an RTI. The response they received noted that between 2017-18, Union budget allocated Rs 16 crores for this scheme but because the government couldn’t successfully pass the tender, the money remained unused.
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“A group of school girls reported to us about the problem of non-supply of sanitary napkins under the Kishori programme. The girls said that they face serious problems during menstrual periods. A comprehensive menstrual hygiene programme by the Delhi government will not only break the taboo, but it will also be a progressive step to ensure women’s health in the city,” said Arvind Singh, advocacy and policy head, Matri Sudha.
“We started buying on our own once there was no supply, but sometimes there is not enough money and we end up using a cloth or cotton,”
The RTI revealed that government had allocated Rs 16 crore in 2016-17 but spent only Rs 9.31 crore out of it. In 2015-16, the government had spent Rs 13.15 crore under it.
Marlena responded saying, “No company was ready to supply at the old rates and we were unable to tender for new rates. Now we have run a new tender which has been successful. Meanwhile, we have also negotiated with Johnson and Johnson, our earlier supplier, to continue the supply.
Students around Tughlaqabad area were unhappy because they had stopped getting free sanitary napkins.
“We started buying on our own once there was no supply, but sometimes there is not enough money and we end up using a cloth or cotton,” said Pushpa, who studies in a government school in Tughlaqabad.