Include sanitary pads under ‘necessary drugs and medical equipment’: FICCI-FLO
The organization also released a set of recommendations on ‘Menstrual Hygiene Management’, based on a study conducted in Delhi and NCR.
FLO, the ladies wing of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has recommended the government to include sanitary pads under the category of necessary drugs and medical equipment’s to increase availability and promote its use among women and girls.
The FLO suggests that the initiative will not only promote the rational use of sanitary pads but will also impact the regulation of procurement and supply along with reasonable pricing and ensuring quality control. It has also demanded the government to make the oxo-biodegradable sanitary napkin available at Mohalla Clinics and Janaushadhi Kendras. In addition, the private sector should collaborate with the government to help women set up self-help groups and manufacture sanitary pads.
These recommendations are based on the findings of a survey conducted by FLO on 1,000 women in Delhi and NCR, maximum of whom were below the income group of Rs 30,000 per annum. The study concluded that the stigmatization has produced an immense gap in knowledge about menstruation and hygienic practices among women and girls, leading to increased health risks, absence from school and work, and loss of dignity. “Being one of the most recognized business organizations catering to women empowerment, it is pertinent that FLO plays a critical role in bridging this gap,” said Ms Harjinder Kaur Talwar, President, FLO.
The low use of sanitary pads in India particularly in low income group of women in slums, unauthorised colonies of urban areas and villages have been a concern among actisits of gender equality. It was due to increasing pressure of gender equality activists, the Governement of India in July 2018 exempted the sanitary napkins from GST.