Bhubaneswar: Inspired by the popular Bollywood fil Padman,  Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik Monday launched Khushi, a programme to provide free sanitary pads to 17 lakh girl students of the state. The programme, which would be implemented by the state health and family welfare department  would cost Rs 70 crore per annum to the state exchequer.

“In continuation with our pro-women initiatives, I am happy to announce the scheme ‘KHUSHI’ Under the scheme, the state will provide free sanitary napkins to 17 lakh girls studying in Classes 6 to 12 in government and government-aided schools,” said the chief minister.”I am sure this step will go a long way in promoting health and hygiene among adolescent girls and lead to higher retention in schools,” he added.

In addition to school-going girls, the BJD government will also provide napkins to women in rural communities at subsidized rates, he said.