New Delhi, Feb 18: In view to increase awareness and remove taboo about menstrual hygiene, the Maharashtra government has decided to launch Asmita Yojana on the International Women’s Day next month. Also Read - 'Recovery Rate at 42.89%,' Says Govt as India Climbs to 9th Position in Global COVID-19 Tally

Under this scheme, girls studying in district schools will be getting a sanitary pad packet for Rs 5 and the women habiting in the rural area can avail the sanitary packs for Rs 24 or Rs 29. Also Read - Two Storms Forming Over Arabian Sea, Likely to Affect Maharashtra, Karnataka

The international women day will be celebrated on March 8. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar will launch the scheme. Also Read - 'Muslims Have Shown The Way': Uddhav Thackeray After Muslims in Maharashtra Fund 10-Bed ICU Facility With Zakat Money

The Asmita Yojana was announced last year by Women and Child and Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde. According to the official, there is very little awareness about hygiene during periods among girls in the age group of 11 to 19 years and women in general in rural areas of Maharashtra.

High costs of sanitary pads, unavailability in rural areas and awkwardness among women to purchase them from male chemists are the main reasons behind such low awareness.

The state government has appointed “Umed’- the Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission, as a nodal agency for effective implementation of the scheme. Under the scheme, beneficiary girls will be given “Asmita Cards”, while participating Self Help Groups (SHGs) will be entrusted with the task of the supply and sale of sanitary pads and counselling the girls and women.

Recently, Akshay Kumar’s film “Padman” also envisioned creating awareness about menstrual hygiene among rural women.

Menstruation is still a taboo subject in India. Even now, women are considered “impure” during their period, subjected to social, religious and cultural restrictions. These practices have resulted in a culture of silence around the subject of period hygiene — 70 percent of Indian mothers consider menstruation “dirty”.