Punjab Government has formally launched the Udaan Scheme to distribute free pads across the Anganwadi centres in the state. The scheme was originally announced on the occasion of International Menstrual Hygiene Day earlier this year on May 28.
Under the scheme, the government of Punjab will provide free pads to women every month across 27,314 Anganwadi centres in the state. At every centre, around 50 females are covered and free pads are serviced to 13.65 lakh beneficiaries in the first phase. A total of 1.23 crore pads are expected to be distributed under the Udaan scheme, as per ANI.
Prioritising menstrual hygiene management in the state, the government has initiated this scheme worth Rs 40.55 crore per annum.
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Razia Sultana, the Minister for Social Security and Women and Child Development formally launched the event at Malerkotla. She instructed to keep track of the distribution through the M-Sewa application under sanitary pad record proforma. The M-Sewa mobile app has been launched by the Punjab government’s Department of Governance Reforms and Public Grievance.
Sultana further said efforts were being made on multiple social fronts regarding women’s issues in the state, including a stable sex ratio. As per latest data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS 2020-21), Punjab’s sex ratio has seen an improvement – 938 per 1000, an increase by 33 points from preceding years – but still remains below the national average of 1020.
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Punjab To Distribute Free Pads: Similar Initatives
Under the Suvidha scheme also launched by the Government of India, sanitary pads are sold at Re 1/piece at the Janaushadhi stores, which are government stores to increase access to affordable generic medicines. The pads are oxy biodegradable (oxygen breaks it down into tiny pieces for easy decomposition).
The Tripura government had earlier announced a scheme for distribution of free pads to 1.68 lakh girl students in the state studying in class 6 to class 12 in January 2021. The Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh governments too had put forward similar initiatives at the start of the year, citing greater attention to women’s health and hygiene. Read more on free sanitary napkin schemes here.