The central government has recently reduced the prices of Jan Aushadhi Suvidha Oxo-Biodegradable Sanitary Napkin from Rs 2.50 to one rupee per pad. This is done to make menstrual hygiene products more affordable and accessible in the rural belts of the country after the government launched the product last year in June, reports India Today.

“About 28 million girls are reported to be leaving education because of lack of availability of good quality Sanitary Napkin pads at a reasonable cost. Suvidha napkin will now be available at only one rupee per pad,” said Mansukh L. Mandaviya, minister of state for chemicals and fertilizers. Women can avail these sanitary pads from ‘designated’ centres from August 27. These pads are sold in a cluster of four pads in one pack which was being sold at Rs 10 up until now but the price of the four pads pack is now reduced to four rupees.

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“We are launching oxo-biodegradable sanitary napkins at one rupee from tomorrow. These napkins under the brand name Suvidha will be available at 5,500 Jan Aushadhi Kendras across the country,” Mandaviya said.

According to the government, over 1.30 crore pads were sold at Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras under Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) in the last one year until July 31, 2019. It is claimed that the pads are made with special additives making it completely biodegradable when it comes in contact with Oxygen once it is discarded.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised before the ‘Lok Sabha Election-2019’ in his election manifesto that the party would make sanitary products more affordable and accessible for marginalised women. Mandaviya says that this reduction in prices has been reduced by 60 percent and hence the government has been successful in fulfilling its election promise. “Currently, the manufacturers are supplying the sanitary napkins at their cost of production. So, we will provide subsidy to bring down the retail price,” Mandaviya said, who is also Minister of State (Independent charge) for Shipping.

“We are launching oxo-biodegradable sanitary napkins at  one rupee from tomorrow. These napkins under the brand name Suvidha will be available at 5,500 Jan Aushadhi Kendras across the country,”

The National Family Health Survey 2015-16 reveals that 58 percent women aged between 15 years and 24 years use locally prepared napkins and tampons. It also records that about 78 percent women in urban areas use hygienic methods of protection during the menstrual period while only 48 percent women in rural areas have access to clean sanitary napkins.

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Wood shavings, fibres, and old dirty clothes are some of the cheap alternatives that women in rural areas have to rely on to get on with their menstrual cycles. And these alternatives end up causing several diseases like fungal infections, Reproductive Tract Infection, Urinary Tract Infection, cervical cancer including making women vulnerable to infertility.

An average sanitary pad in the market is sold at Rs 6-8 but the fact that these pads are being priced at a meagre one rupee will give a big boost to women in the rural areas wanting to use sanitary products to maintain menstrual hygiene, Mandviya said.

The government will take steps to ensure that there is no diversion of these subsidised sanitary napkins, he added.

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