On Monday, India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Celebration (BJP) announced it would be offering 600,000 packs to police to disperse amongst teen women and ladies in Delhi slums.
But it’s not just the cities. The shortage of pads is being felt across the nation and the problem is far more acute in semi-urban and backwoods, says Shailja Mehta, who deals with issues of teenagers at Dasra, a humanitarian organisation.
” During our conversations with our partners in numerous states, we heard that only 15%women had access to sanitary pads throughout the lockdown.
” With schools shut, the women are getting pads just through the neighborhood health workers who are handing over whatever little products they have.”
The issue started when India initially enforced a country-wide lockdown on 25 March, and sanitary napkins were not in the list of important products which were exempt from constraints.
It was just on 29 March, after reports that chemists, supermarket and online sites were running out of pads, that the federal government added sanitary pads to the list of basics. The hold-up caused nearly 10 days of production loss.
” After the government enabled us to operate, it took us another 3 to four days to restart the factories since we had to get all the required approvals and passes for our employees,” Rajesh Shah, president of Feminine and Infant Health Association of India, told the BBC.
Mr Shah states production is still partly resumed due to the fact that there’s an intense shortage of workers who have actually gotten away the cities for their towns.
” Just 60%of the factories are functional and not one is running at full capacity. There is a shortage of workers, factories in ‘containment zones’ are not allowed to open, and there are enormous disturbances in the supply and circulation chain.”
There’s a huge scarcity of sanitary pads, he says and warns that the situation will get worse prior to it improves.