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Punjab Free Sanitary Pads Scheme 2024 - Class 6th to 12th Girls of Govt Schools to Get Free Sanitary Napkins

Good News for Women ! Punjab government has started implementation of Free Sanitary Pads Scheme 2024. The state govt. of Punjab is formulating a policy to distribute free-of-cost sanitary napkins to girls studying in classes 6th to 12th of govt. and govt-aided schools across the state. Read this article till the end to check complete details about PB Free Sanitary Napkin Scheme.

Free Sanitary Napkins Scheme in Punjab Budget 2024-25

On 5th March 2024, Finance Minister presented Punjab Budget 2024-25. While delivering the budget speech, FM said that AAP Government understands that higher education today is not only about imparting knowledge but also about cultivating critical thinking, fostering innovation, and preparing students for a new age world. Our Government proposes the following allocations in FY 2024-25:- 
  • Rashtriya Uchchattar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA): ₹80 crore; 
  • For improvement of infrastructure; sports facilities; libraries; skill orientation Programmes: ₹ 10 crore; 
  • CM Scholarship for concession in University Fee: ₹6 crore; and 
  • For providing Sanitary Napkins: ₹5 crore

PB Free Sanitary Napkins Scheme in Ludhiana 

Director general of school education, Punjab school education department has directed the district education officers to share school-wise and block-wise list of girl children. Notably, an NGO used to offer free pads in Ludhiana, however, the government has come up with the policy to promote menstrual hygiene among girl children across the state. Two firms will be roped in for the implementation of the move in the district. 

As per the instructions, one school of each block will act as a nodal school. The firm will supply sanitary napkins to the nodal from where it will be dispersed to other schools of the block. Nodal officer of Ludhiana, principal of Meritorious School said: "Most of the city schools have vending machines and incinerators where NGOs used to supply sanitary napkins, but this is the first time that such a state policy has been formed, bringing uniformity in the system." 

The scheme aims to serve the basic objective of normalising public discussions about menstrual health and hygiene. This is a great initiative by the Punjab government as it would be offering avenues for girl students to opt for proper practices during their menstrual cycles. Special awareness campaigns focusing on women's health will be run through women self-help groups, social and non-government organisations. 

Launch of Punjab Free Sanitary Napkin Scheme

Punjab government aims to empower girls and so, free sanitary pad scheme will soon be launched. The state government is taking up this effort to increase the female sex ratio in the state. It has been observed that girl students miss out on better alternatives to menstrual hygiene because they do not indulge in conversations that involve menstruation more openly. So, free pads in government schools will ensure that the government encourages women to practice menstrual hygienic methods. These pads will remain available in specific protective packages and would be absolutely free of cost for girls. 
Punjab Free Sanitary Pads Scheme is necessary because "Out of the women-related diseases happening in the state, 60% are due to non-adherence to menstrual hygiene. Keeping all these things in mind, the free sanitary napkin scheme will be an innovative initiative of the government of Punjab. On such a large scale, this would be a unique initiative of Punjab in the country itself."

Implementation of Menstrual Hygiene Scheme for Girls 

The purpose of Pb Free Sanitary Napkin Scheme is to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene, improve accessibility to basic products and promote better standard of living. It is a girl-oriented scheme aimed at improving the quality of life, enhance their self esteem and ensure safe disposal of sanitary pads.

Objectives of Free Sanitary Pads Scheme in Punjab

Menstruation is a natural process and most of the previous governments shy on this topic. Punjab govt. will launch this Menstrual Hygiene Scheme (MHS) in which girls studying in class 6th to 12th in govt./govt. aided schools would be able to avail the benefits of Muft Sanitary Pad Yojana. The state govt. will start this Free Sanitary Napkins Scheme in Punjab for the following reasons:-
  • To spread awareness about hygiene and to promote sanitary napkins distribution among women.
  • To increase access to and use of high quality sanitary napkins to adolescent girls in rural areas.
  • To ensure safe disposal of sanitary pads in an environmentally friendly manner.
By using sanitary napkins, women can be prevented from various menstrual hygiene related diseases.

Salient Features of Punjab Muft Sanitary Pad Yojana

The important features and highlights of this Menstrual Hygiene Scheme (MHS) Scheme would be as defined here:-
  • Girls studying in classes 6th to 12th in any govt. or govt-aided school would be able to take benefits of this Health Scheme.
  • The state govt. will make budgetary provision for Menstrual Hygiene Scheme (MHS). Govt. will distribute sanitary napkins and spread hygiene message among girls.
  • As per Nation Family Health Survey report (2015-16), only 55% women (15-45 years) are using hygiene protection methods during their menstrual periods.
  • In urban areas, situation is slightly better in comparison to rural areas. Around 78% of women in urban areas and 50% of women in rural areas uses sanitary napkins, locally prepared pads and tampons as hygiene methods.
  • As per the Survey reports, 45% women between 15 to 24 years in the state are at higher risk of getting exposed to menstrual hygiene related diseases.
  • Such women can be exposed to fungal infection, urinary tract infection, reproductive tract infection and other health diseases.

Earlier Announcement on Punjab Udaan Scheme

Previous Congress government in Punjab announced on 22 December 2021 to start Udaan Scheme for providing free sanitary pads to women in need. Now the newly formed CM Bhagwant Mann led AAP state govt. has not given any update on this. But it is expected that the Punjab state govt. will focus on this important issue of menstrual hygiene. It is expected that PB state govt. will soon start ambitious free sanitary pad scheme in the state. 

It was earlier announced during Congress govt. that around 13.65 lakh women b/w the age of 10 to 45 years will get free sanitary napkins every month under Muft Sanitary Pad Yojana. These free sanitary napkins were to be distributed from all anganwadi centres across the state to the needy women.

The Punjab Free Sanitary Napkin Scheme aimed to promote menstrual hygiene among girls. Free sanitary napkins were to be provided to needy women every month at all 27,314 Anganwadi centres across the state under the Udaan Scheme.

1st Phase of Punjab Udan Scheme

In the first phase, around 50 women were to be covered at each Anganwadi Centre and sanitary pads were to be given to 13.65 lakh beneficiaries each month. A total of 1.23 crore pads had to be distributed under Punjab Udaan Scheme.

Punjab Udaan Scheme Coverage

The new Punjab Free Sanitary Napkin Scheme would cover the following category of women:-
  • School drop-outs
  • Out-of-school girls
  • Young women not attending college
  • Women from BPL families
  • Homeless women
  • Residents of slum areas
  • Women not getting free or subsidised sanitary pads under any scheme of other departments.
An amount of Rs. 40.55 crore per annum was proposed under the earlier Free Sanitary Napkins Scheme, called Udaan Yojana. To encourage adolescent girls and women to use sanitary napkins as well as to create a conducive environment to bring awareness related to their dignity, safety, and menstruation, special campaigns were organised.

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