The government plans to distribute free sanitary napkins among girls in government schools from October.
Around 34 lakh girls studying in classes VII-XII will benefit from the scheme. Every girl would get a packet containing four sanitary napkins each month.
Education minister Brishen Patel said: “The scheme of free distribution of sanitary napkins among girls in government schools will be launched from October this year.”
The education and health departments will jointly look after the scheme. The education department is the nodal agency to execute the scheme.
Patel added that officials of both departments have been asked to complete the formalities for the scheme so that it can be launched in October.
Sources said it has not yet been decided whether to buy the sanitary napkins in bulk from Patna or give the district education offices concerned the power to purchase the items.
Former chief minister Nitish Kumar had announced the scheme at the concluding function of the Bihar Sub-Junior Sports Meet — Tarang — in February this year. It is aimed at ensuring menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls. The government hopes the scheme would also help check dropout rates of girls.
Sources said the general election and lackadaisical approach of officials delayed the scheme’s execution.
The scheme would cost the state exchequer Rs 30 crore over five years. Under this, female teachers in middle schools would be trained by the Bihar Education Project Council on speaking to students about menstrual hygiene.