Pharmaceutical companies in India

Industry must come up with low-cost sanitary pads: Rashmi Singh

Ms Rashmi Singh and Mr Ratan Lal Kataria
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Ms Rashmi Singh and Mr Ratan Lal Kataria at ASSOCHAM event in New Delhi

Menstrual hygiene management  is critically related to development because girls being unable to attend school owing to menstrual taboos also needs to be seen in terms of an economic opportunity lost, Ms Rashmi Singh, secretary, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi.

Ms Singh also suggested to the industry to come up with low-cost options, considering it is a very important social cause, not just in terms of profits but as a sustainable model thereby creating a revolving fund.

“It would be desirable to keep it as a low-cost product, biodegradable/compostable so that we do not end up polluting the environment by piling up plastic waste,” she added.

Highlighting that there have been various models developed by women themselves at self-help groups, Ms Singh said: “I urge the industry leaders to take it up as a movement to look at the successful models, make a compendium and see how they can be replicated and taken up to scale.”

Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr Rattan Lal Kataria, said, “There is an urgent need for policy initiatives to empower women against gender inequalities.”

He stated, “India’s progress towards gender equality on various measures has been disappointing, despite fairly rapid rates of economic growth.”

Sharing his views on the need to promote menstrual hygiene, the Minister said, “Increased knowledge about menstruation right from childhood may escalate safe practices and may help in mitigating the suffering of millions of women.”

He added, “Thinking has to be changed and proper awareness is needed to make women and girls realize the importance of using hygienic products during menstruation.”

Maninder Singh, co-chairman, ASSOCHAM National Council for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said, “This problem is no less than the Swacch Bharat problem of India. Imagine, out of 355 million girls/women in our nation only 12% use proper sanitary pads and rest all are undergoing this issue throughout on social, religious, hygiene, economic and mental level.”

He also said, “We at ASSOCHAM have taken this responsibility to convert this event into a national movement wherein we shall ensure that we can skill, educate and train girls/women to fight this problem strongly to help them come out of this social taboo.”


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