India

NCW seeks clarification from the IAS officer who answered a question on sanitary pads, sparking a controversy

A day after an IAS officer in Bihar responded to a student’s question on a sanitary pad, the National Commission for Women took cognizance of the matter. It sought a written explanation from the bureaucrat within seven days.

On Wednesday, Bihar’s Women Development Corporation (WDC) Managing Director Harjot Kaur Bamhra asked a student why the government had not given her sanitary pads. Bamhra replied to the girl, “They (students) will demand jeans, good shoes and finally, contraceptives for family planning.” When the girl argued that the government was obliged to give her some facilities because politicians ask for votes, the IAS officer quipped: “Mat do you vote? The government is yours. Ban Jao Pakistan (Don’t vote, there is your government. Be Pakistan). Do you vote for money or facilities?”

During the workshop, a student asked: “When the government is doing so many things for us, including giving us uniforms and scholarships, why can’t it provide sanitary pads, which will cost only Rs 20-30?”

As the audience applauded the question by clapping, Bamhra replied: “The clappers should know that there is no end to such demands. The question is if the government should give sanitary pads. Tomorrow there will be a demand for jeans…tomorrow there will be a demand for shoes. Finally, there may be a demand for free contraceptives for family planning.”

The IAS officer said that one should not demand everything from the government. “The government is giving a lot… it is wrong to expect everything from the government,” he said.

Since then, she has told Bihar Social Welfare Minister Madan Sahni: “Our department works for the welfare of girls and women. He shouldn’t have discouraged the girls. The workshop aimed to encourage them. Our department secretary will talk to the MD on Thursday.

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