The BJP-led Centre may be pushing the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign to ensure the survival, protection and education of girl children, but it appears government schools continue to be insensitive to female students.
A child rights activist in Telangana has accused the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, a Central government aided school at Ibrahimpatnam of denying sanitary napkins to a 12-year-old girl student. This despite the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme run by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development supplying sanitary napkins to government schools.
The activist, who wished to remain anonymous, says the girl who hit puberty last month was denied sanitary napkins. â€śInstead, the hostel staff told her to purchase the sanitary napkin on her own with the Rs 100 scholarship she is entitled to. However, the girl hasnâ€™t been getting any such scholarship,â€ť the activist said.
â€śHow can the school act so insensitively? This is abuse of child rights,â€ť lamented the activist, who pointed out that the girlâ€™s parents lived in a different state and could not provide for her.
However, K Satyanarayana Reddy, the Ranga Reddy District Education Office told TNM that the Sarva Shiksha sanitary napkins were not supplied to schools anymore. â€śThe government has stopped the provision of providing napkins for girls way back in 2013. Till 2013, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan authorities had been providing napkins. But they have stopped it since then. Recently, they (SSA) were doing some survey to identify the girls who have hit puberty across the government hostels in the state. Maybe they will reintroduce them.â€ť
But Padma, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyanâ€™s state programme coordinator denies Reddyâ€™s claims. â€śWe are still providing the medical kits. This is false news. We are giving the medical kits worth Rs 300 across all state hostels,â€ť said Padma.
The Sarva Shikha Abhiyan programme that has been operational since 2000 aims to provide universal access and retention in elementary education. It also aims to bridge gender and social gaps through various interventions including constructing schools and additional classrooms, toilets and drinking water etc.