New Sarkari Yojana List 2023 (नई सरकारी योजनाओं की सूची)

New Sarkari Yojana List 2023 (नई सरकारी योजनाओं की सूची)

प्रधानमंत्री मोदी एवं विभिन्न राज्य के मुख्यमंत्री द्वारा शुरू की गयी सभी योजनाएं, केंद्र व राज्य सरकार की योजनाएँ 2023, सरकारी योजना हिंदी और अंग्रेजी में योगी योजना वेबसाइट पर

Sikkim Bahini Scheme 2023 - Free Sanitary Pads to Girl Students Studying in Class 9th to 12th

Sikkim government announced to start Bahini scheme 2023 for girl children. This scheme will focus on installation of vending machines to give free of cost sanitary napkins to girl students. Vahini scheme is a first-of-its-kind initiative time in which all girls studying in class 9-12 will get free sanitary pads.

Sikkim Bahini Scheme 2023-24

New Bahini Scheme of Sikkim govt. aims to provide 100% access to free and safe sanitary pads to secondary and senior secondary school going girls. The prime objective is to curb dropout of girls from schools and raise awareness about menstrual hygiene. 

An experiment regarding Bahini Yojana was conducted by Sikkim state government back in the year 2018 in collaboration with Sulabh International. In that experiment, vending machines were installed in some schools and girl students were given free sanitary napkins. Seeing the success of that experiment, the state govt. has decided to expand its coverage to all girls in the state under Bahini Scheme.

NFHS Survey on Menstrual Health in India

As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16, India has over 35.5 crore menstruating women. Out of this, only 36% of women were reported as using sanitary napkins, locally or commercially produced. 

The percentage of women using menstrual products did improve significantly across the country, especially in Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, West Bengal and Bihar, as estimated in the first phase of the recently released NFHS-5.

Inspite of this, menstrual health remains a low-priority issue in India due to taboos, shame, misinformation and poor access to sanitation facilities and menstrual products. So to address these issues, Sikkim govt. is set to launch a new Bahini Scheme to provide free sanitary napkins to class 9th to 12th girl students. 

Issues to be Addressed through Bahini Yojana in Sikkim

  • Restrictions by Society: The restrictions imposed by society during menstruation violate women's right to health, equality and privacy. Women and girls are mostly kept in isolation during their menstrual cycle. Even they are not allowed to enter religious places or kitchens, play outside or even go to schools during menstruation. Bahini Scheme will ensure that girls use good quality sanitary pads and will be able to roam, play and go to school during their periods. 
  • Girls Drop out from Schools: Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) had conducted a survey under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme back in the year 2018-19. It was found that more than one-fourth of total girls enrolled in class 6th to 8th drop out of school as soon as they hit puberty. Bahini Yojana will surely increase the confidence in girls to continue their education, thereby reducing their drop out rates.
  • Inconsistent Access to Education: In the initial days of menstruation, young girls faces several difficulties due to lack of education on menstrual health and puberty. Through Bahini initiative, girls will get proper knowledge of menstrual cycle which will help them during their periods.
  • Less Participation in Work: Many employers see menstruating women as a problem because they associate menstruation with inefficiency in work and reduced participation in workforce. Some corporate workplaces even show insensitivity towards menstruating women fearing loss of productivity. With the new Bahini initiative, girls will be able to work properly during their menstruation period also, thus problem of employers is also expected to be resolved.

Similar Sanitary Napkin Schemes

Here are some of the similar sanitary napkin schemes launched by central / respective state govt's:-

By Central Government 

  • In 2015, the central government introduced the national guidelines on menstrual hygiene management.
  • Menstrual Hygiene Scheme (2011) and the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (in 2014), have been launched to promote menstrual hygiene amongst adolescent girls in the age group of 10 to 19.
  • Through the Suvidha initiative, the government distributed more than 5 crore brand sanitary pads at Re 1 from 6,000 Jan Aushadhi Kendras.

By State Government

State governments of several states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have also implemented free sanitary napkin schemes to distribute sanitary pads in their government run schools.
Bihar government also launched Kishori Swasthya Yojana to enable adolescent girls to buy sanitary pads.

Objectives of Menstrual Hygiene Scheme in Sikkim

  • Increasing awareness among adolescent girls on Menstrual Hygiene.
  • Ensuring safe disposal of sanitary pads in an environment friendly manner.
  • Increasing access and usage of high quality sanitary napkins by adolescent girls in rural areas.

Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) by Indian govt

The main objectives of RKSK scheme are as follows:-
  • Improvement in Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • Enhancing Mental Health
  • Preventing Injuries and violence
  • Preventing substance misuse

Advantages of Sikkim Bahini Scheme

Sikkim Bahini Scheme will improve accountability towards issues related to menstrual health management. Now state govt. will follow a community-based approach in which local influencers and decision-makers will address the menstrual hygiene issue. Various behavioural change campaigns targeted at both men and women will be organised to counter myths and misconceptions.
Through Bahini scheme, the state govt. of Sikkim wants to increase access to affordable menstrual hygiene products in rural and semi-urban regions. For this purpose, several sanitary pad vending machines will be installed at key public places, workplaces, schools, colleges and anganwadi centres.

Data is a reworked version of article published in The Indian Express

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