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The issue of lack of awareness about menstruation among schoolgirls leading to drop-outs came under the scanner of the Delhi High Court today as it asked the authorities to undertake steps to sensitise and educate students about it. "If you (governments and schools run by them) undertake steps, Delhi will fully sensitise," a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar observed. "It is an important issue," the bench said and asked the authorities to disclose if they have a menstrual hygiene scheme in place or any action plan in connection with the issue. It directed the authorities to file their report on the next date of hearing, January 22. It said governments and civic bodies here must publicise awareness schemes and ensure their effective implementation in schools. The bench also sought to know the budgetary allocation for the menstrual hygiene scheme under the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) for schools in Delhi. The court's direction came during the hearing of a plea by advocate Setu Niket, who sought direction to the Centre, the Delhi government and civic bodies to establish a mechanism to provide education on mensuration and menstrual hygiene in all schools here. The petitioner through her counsel Esha Mazumdar told the court that according to a survey, the school drop-out rate for girls was the most during puberty. It sought direction to the authorities to ensure that menstrual hygiene products were made available to adolescent girls in schools free of cost or at subsidised rates. The petitioner has also sought the establishment of a mechanism to provide education to girls aged 11-14 years about menstrual hygiene and safeguards, and access to trained female teachers or health counsellors in schools on a weekly or monthly basis for imparting education on the issue. Meanwhile, the south Delhi municipal corporation informed the court they were taking educational programmes. The plea said it was imperative to sensitise children in the 10-14 age group about menstrual hygiene and every possible effort should be made by the State to help girls continue with their education.
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