Shuchi misses January deadline, too

Health State

Shuchi scheme is a government scheme meant for supplying sanitary napkins to adolescent girls at school level. 

Schools are not being supplied with sanitary napkins under Shuchi Scheme in January as promised by Health and Family welfare department of Government of Karnataka.

B.S. Suma, principal of Jyothy Kendra Vidhyala, Kanakpura Road said that none of the school’s branches received sanitary napkins from the government. “We do not get pads from any government facility. Before COVID-19 we used to get pads but after the pandemic, the scheme has not been resumed,” she said.

She drew attention to the fact that even when they were provided with the napkins they faced problems. She said, “The napkins were of  very poor quality. The fit was also not proper. The quantity was also not optimum. But unlike now at least some girls were enjoying the benefits. Not all the girls can afford pads, the scheme was very helpful for girls who come from a poor background.”  

Mrs Ashwini, an English school teacher at Government High School, J.P Nagar said that girls often take leave when they are on their menstruation period. The leave impacts their studies. “We were hoping that at least from January, the girls will get sanitary napkins.” 

A class 9th student from the Government High School Kumbalgodu said, “I do not come to school for at least three days when I am on menstruation. I have always used a cloth during that time as it is easily available and reusable after washing.” She pointed that her problem with cloth is that it is not reliable in heavy flow. There is a need to change it many times. Therefore rather than attending school, she prefers to take leave.

 The Health and Family Welfare Minister, Dinesh Gundu Rao said in a press conference that earlier, the sanitary napkins were distributed through district health officers but now they are involving agencies. The agencies that bag the tender will directly supply the napkins to schools. The tender process for Mysuru and Kalaburgi has been finalized. For the rest of the regions, it is still under process, he said.

Shuchi Scheme was initially started in 2013 by the Karnataka government. It was initially a centre-sponsored scheme. However, in 2015-2016, the centre asked state governments to take over the scheme. In Karnataka nearly 17 lakh girls benefitted from the scheme

The scheme is aimed at spreading awareness about menstrual hygiene in adolescent girls. It was halted in 2019, during the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak. In 2020-2021, no funds were allocated by the Karnataka government to this scheme. However, Health Minister Gundu Rao, announced in September 2023, that the scheme would resume from October 2023.

In December 2023, Minister, Gundu Rao told the legislative council that the department needs Rs. 40 Crore for the implementation of the Shuchi Scheme and the scheme will be resumed from January 2024.

An official from the Health and Family Welfare Department said, “We are lacking the budget for implementation of the scheme. We are hoping that by the end of February the budget will be allocated to us.”