Swechha Scheme 2023: Andhra Pradesh government led by Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy has launched AP Free Sanitary Napkin Scheme 2023 or Swechha Muft Sanitary Pad Yojana. In this AP Free Sanitary Pads Yojana, the state govt. will provide sanitary napkins absolutely free of cost to female students of Government educational institutions to ensure menstrual hygiene. Girls studying in 7th to 12th class in govt. schools and junior colleges would be given free sanitary pads. In this article, we will provide you about the complete details of this women welfare scheme.
AP Free Sanitary Napkin Scheme 2023 – Swechha Yojana
The state govt. of Andhra Pradesh has started AP Muft Sanitary Pad Yojana from 5th October 2021. Swechha scheme aims to ensure affordable access to health and menstrual hygiene in adolescent girls and women, All the girls studying from class 7th to 10+2 class in government schools as well as those studying in junior colleges will get free sanitary napkins. Under this initiative, the state government will provide ten sanitary napkins every month to about ten lakh adolescent girls studying from 7th to 12th grades in all government schools and intermediate colleges across the state at a financial outlay of Rs 32 crore.
A total of 120 napkins per year is allotted to every female student. Even during summer vacations, the students will be supplied with their quota before they leave school. The free branded sanitary products being supplied are a result of the state government entering MoUs with corporate conglomerates like P&G and Niine Pvt Ltd, the brands being supplied in government schools are Whisper and Niine.
Objectives of AP Free Sanitary Napkins Scheme
The state govt. has started this AP Free Sanitary Napkins Scheme for the following reasons:-
- Spreading awareness about menstrual hygiene
- Promotion of free of cost sanitary napkins distribution among women.
- Improvement in access and usage of high quality sanitary napkins to adolescent girls in rural areas.
- Safe disposal of sanitary pads in an environmentally friendly manner.
- With the utilization of sanitary napkins, women could be prevented from various menstrual hygiene related diseases.
Sanitary Napkins to Women at Lower Price at YSR Cheyutha Retail Stores
Additionally, through the MoUs signed, Sanitary napkins will be sold at YSR Cheyutha retail stores at lowered prices to around 1 crore women residing in both rural and urban areas. Each school will have a female educator appointed as a Nodal Officer to help the female students with sanitary napkins supply, safe methods of disposal, and any assistance the students may require. Further for a safer and environment-friendly way of disposal, the state government has set up 6,417 incinerators across the state through the Clean Andhra Pradesh (CLAP) initiative.
Review Meeting on AP Muft Sanitary Pad Yojana
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy held a review meeting on the supply of sanitary napkins with the School Education, Women and Child Welfare and other department officials on 5 March 2021. CM laid emphasis on health of students and menstrual hygiene. The officials informed CM that the process of tenders for the supply of sanitary napkins was completed by 15 April 2021.
When will Distribution of Muft Sanitary Pads will Start in Andhra Pradesh
The distribution of Free sanitary napkins has been already started on 5 October 2021. Every month, 10 free sanitary pads will be supplied to each girl. A total of 120 sanitary napkins will be provided to each girl per year. The government will spend Rs. 32 crore on implementation of the scheme per annum. CM Jagan also wanted the sale of sanitary napkins through kirana stores set up under the YSR Cheyutha scheme at affordable prices in rural areas. Branded sanitary napkins should be supplied at affordable prices.
Need for Swechha Scheme
A report from the United Nations Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council estimated that 23% of girls in India drop out of school due to lack of menstruation products, inadequate surroundings to change sanitary napkins, lack of running water, and absence of disposal facilities. The State Government, through initiatives like Swechha, Mana Badi Nadu-Nedu, is making proactive steps in ensuring that the female student population continues to receive an education by providing all the aforementioned facilities required to empower and retain their students.
Restroom facilities for girls with uninterrupted water supply are being built in 56,703 government schools, hostels, and educational institutions are set to be completed by July 2023. The construction of separate restrooms in 15,715 schools has already been completed.
As part of a monthly orientation program, Nodal Officers, ANMs and Mahila Police will gather at the local Sachivalayam to educate and create awareness amongst female students studying between classes 7th to 12th. The Chief Minister said “We are a government that strongly believes that the power to change history lies with the women in our state” let us help them move forward.
Salient Features of AP Free Sanitary Napkin Scheme
The important features and highlights of this AP Muft Sanitary Pad Yojana are as follows:-
- The state govt. has announced to start AP Muft Sanitary Pad Yojana. Govt. will distribute sanitary napkins and spread hygiene message among women.
- Every month, 10 free of cost sanitary napkins would be given to each schoolgirl.
- A total of 120 sanitary napkins will be provided to each girl per year.
- The AP state government will spend Rs. 32 crore on implementation of Free Sanitary Napkin scheme per annum.
- 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.
- So to prevent women from menstrual related diseases, CM Jagan Mohan Reddy has announced Muft Sanitary Pad Yojana.
Andhra Pradesh govt. has started this revolutionary scheme for the welfare of women. Jagan also directed the officials to provide quality coaching to students who want to appear for competitive exams. For provision of interactive and technology-based training, the Chief Minister wanted the officials to use laptops as students above class IX are already given the option of choosing a laptop instead of the financial assistance provided by the government under the Amma Vodi scheme.
Apart from using the already available computers in government schools, the officials can take the support of reputed coaching institutes to provide training to students, the Chief Minister said.