In an innovative and welcome move, the Central government on Monday launched affordable biodegradable sanitary napkins to be sold under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) across the country.
The Suvidha Oxo-biodegradable sanitary napkins, priced at Rs 2.50 per pad, will be retailed through over 3,600 Jan Aushadhi stores in 33 states and UTs. A pack of four pads is priced Rs 10.
"The price of these pads is very nominal as compared with other sanitary pads in the market which are priced in the range of Rs 8 per piece. Besides, the sanitary napkins are also environment friendly," Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh L Mandaviya told reporters in the national capital.
Suvidha pads come with a special additive, which makes it biodegradable when it comes in contact with oxygen after being discarded.
The launch of Suvidha napkins will help women from underprivileged sections to take care of their basic hygiene needs, Mandaviya said.
These environment-friendly sanitary pads would bring in competition in the market and may lead to cut in prices of such napkins by other manufacturers as well, he said.
According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, about 58 per cent of women aged between 15-24 years use locally prepared napkins, sanitary napkins and tampons.
Further, about 78 per cent women in urban areas use hygienic methods of protection during menstrual period; only 48 per cent women in rural areas have access to clean sanitary napkins.
Earlier in March, Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar had announced to start selling such pads under the PMBJP at Jan Aushadhi stores by May 28.
(With inputs from agencies)