Bhubaneswar: In line with the Petroleum and Skill Development Ministry’s endeavour to “Reform, Perform and Transform’, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan now seeks to apply these principles to another novel initiative in Odisha. The Minister will be seen launching – Ujjwala Sanitary Napkins Initiative, a CSR initiative by Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), to set up manufacturing units of Ujjwala Sanitary Napkins at the Common Service Centres across the state. Corporate Social Responsibility has long been recognised as a means to bring about sustainable social and environmental change, and through this initiative OMCs are taking the lead to employ, educate and empower the women of Odisha while also improving their access to feminine hygiene products.
A press meet jointly addressed today by IOCL, BPCL and HPCL was attended by Smt. Swarnaprava Singh, State Head, CSC, Odisha, Shri Sanjay Kumar Jha, GM (LPG), IOCL, Shri Sanjay Sharma, State Head (LPG), BPCL, Odisha and Jharkhand, Shri Dharmendra Behura, DGM (LPG), HPCL, and Shri Srinivash Patra, Senior Manager, Corp. Communications, IOCL.
As per NFHS-4 report overall use of sanitary napkins in Odisha is 33.5 pc . Only 42.8% of rural women between the age of 15-24 years use proper hygienic methods of protection during menstruation . Under the Ujjwala Sanitary Napkin initiative 100 local manufacturing units will be set up at Common Service Centres (‘CSCs’) across all 30 districts, covering 93 blocks in the state of Odisha. The cost of setting up these manufacturing units is Rs. 2.94 Crores. Each facility will have the capacity to produce 1200-2000 pads each day and will have a sterilization room to ensure that the napkins are sterilised before they are packed for consumption of rural women. The CSCs are also being provided with raw material, enough to make 45,000-50,000 pads. These napkins will be priced at Rs. 40/- per pack; each pack containing 8 pads.
Fulfilling the purpose of this CSR initiative, each manufacturing unit will employ 5 to 6 Ujjwala beneficiaries thus providing employment to about 600 Ujjwala beneficiaries across all districts. By providing women training in manufacturing and sale of sanitary napkins, this initiative not only provides them with a dignified channel to earn their livelihood but also equips them with entrepreneurial skills.
It is important to note that the Ujjwala sanitary pads will be made of virgin wood pulp sheet, non-woven white sheet and a gel sheet which are all biodegradable in nature and will leave minimal carbon footprint, giving further impetus to PM Modi’s flagship initiative of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
This initiative by the IOCL, BPCL and HPCL will help change the way rural Odisha perceives menstrual health, achieving the twin objective of improving women’s health and encouraging basic hygiene practices.
Central Government’s Contribution:
The Petroleum Ministry brought women to the center of energy policy Ujjwala Yojana to provide clean cooking fuel to BPL households across the nation. Thanks to Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), there has been an unprecedented increase in LPG connections in Odisha in the last four and half years facilitating Ease of Living for more than 35 lakhs women from poor households in Odisha. The Ministry, under leadership of Shri Dharmendra Pradhan has also organised over 3,000 LPG Panchayats across Odisha to provide a platform for LPG consumers to interact with each other and promote mutual learning, promote regular and safe use of LPG and facilitate complete switch to clean cooking.
The Central Government under PM Modi has launched several unique endeavours to empower rural women. Employing women in rural BPOs, tying up with Village Level Entrepreneurs (rural CSCs) to facilitate Ujjwala connections and promote refills, engaging rural women in manufacturing low-cost sanitary napkins and bringing women entrepreneurs from thousands of SHGs across India to the online market platform via Mahila E-Haats etc are some such initiatives. In Odisha, the NDA government has primarily focused on empowering the women through schemes like Surakshit Matrutva Abhiyan, (Intensified) Mission Indradhanus, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Mahila Shakti Kendras, Swachh Bharat Mission, Swachh Vidyalaya Mission etc.
The Government has in the recent years urged the industries across India to spend up to 10 percent of their profit on CSR in order to facilitate social and economic development of the country. A CSR project such as the Ujjwala Sanitary Napkin Initiative in Odisha is an excellent way of educating women across the state on feminine hygiene and health, improve accessibility to low cost eco-friendly sanitary pads, and boosting rural employment and economy. IOCL, BPCL, HPCL through this CSR initiative hope to realise this vision and strengthen the socio-economic status of women.