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The Andhra Pradesh government on the occasion of International Women's Day, March 8, launched a programme under which it will distribute free of cost sanitary napkins to the girls studying in government educational institutions.
The programme named 'Swechha' (meaning freedom) is intended to ensure affordable access to health and menstrual hygiene in adolescent girls and women.
Under the programme, the government would supply ten sanitary napkins per month to every adolescent girl studying in Classes 7 to 12 in all government schools, junior colleges and residential institutions in the state from the next academic year, beginning July, reported The NewsMinute.
Women Development and Child Welfare Department Principal Secretary AR Anuradha said that good quality, branded sanitary napkins would be made available at affordable prices in all Cheyutha Stores run by women in urban and rural areas.
Anuradha also mentioned that a lady teacher or lecturer would be identified in each school and college to be in charge of implementing the Swechha programme. She added that the in-charge would be responsible for maintaining stocks and distributing them to girl students as per norms.
Anuradha also mentioned that the appointed in-charge would ensure that children were taught methods of safe disposal of used napkins.
Earlier, while addressing the event at his camp office, the Chief Minister said that women employees in all government offices would be given five casual leaves, in addition to the existing 15 per annum.
Andhra Pradesh could be the first state in India to incorporate a concept called 'Gender Budget' in its annual Budget for FY 2021-22. On International Women's Day on Monday, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy emphasised that the Gender Budget should clearly list out the expenditures for women's welfare under various schemes.
CM Jagan Reddy said, "Women should be given equal rights economically, socially and politically and their services in bettering the society should be recognised."
He also launched women's help desks at all police stations in the state virtually on Monday. These help desks aim at offering a friendly and approachable atmosphere to women who want to report any crime in the police station.
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