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Why I invented Sanitary napkins that will cost just Rs 3
I have recently completed my B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from Institute of Technology and Management, Gurgaon (now ITM University). Health and hygiene are major areas which needs to be improved and as an engineer, I felt it was my moral responsibility to work in this area so that health can be improved in India.

Sanitation in Indian rural areas is a big problem and must be acknowledged at the earliest. Speaking about menstrual cycle is still a taboo, let alone do anything about it. Being an engineer I thought of coming up with a logical and cost effective solution to change things. Hence, I came out with a machine that would be able to produce low priced sanitary napkins.

Nowadays, the uncontrollable increase in the prices of commodities has made it difficult for a person of lower income group. In fact even a middle class family is finding it hard to afford items of personal hygiene and care, especially for those living in the rural areas.

Health problems in India and mainly in the rural areas are a great challenge. The health problems in females are serious because of non-availability of proper facilities in the rural areas. And if they are available, they are not affordable to them.

It has been found that many women in rural areas still use rough clothes during their menstrual periods, which is a highly unhygienic practice. Also the cost at which the multi-nationals sell their napkins, is keeping the rural women away and a solution for this has to be found.

The biggest barrier to using a sanitary napkin is affordability. Around 70 per cent  of women in India say their families can't afford to buy them. So, as an engineer, it is our moral responsibility to provide a solution to such issues.

When I came to know about this problem, I along with my faculty advisor, Mr. Ashwini Sharma (an Assistant  Professor at ITM) decided to resolve this issue and finally it all began with the designing of the low cost sanitary napkin manufacturing machine, while ensuring that the sanitary napkin making process gets revolutionized wholly and the product can be sold in rural and remote areas at a much lower price than available in the market. The design was approved for funding of Rs. 1.5 lacs by MSME, Government of India under Design Clinics Scheme.

This project was started in the 3rd year of my B.Tech, when I along with my faculty advisor attended a seminar and there the problem about the unavailability of sanitary napkins in rural areas came up. We decided to take this problem as a challenge and work towards finding the solution began with the designing of the new machine.

This project was proposed to NID under the Design Clinics Scheme (DCS) and further it was approved for funding by MSME, Govt. of India. It took us nearly about 1 year to completely design and fabricate this machine.

Research Methodology:
a. Problem Identification
b. Designing in SOLIDWORKS
c. Material survey and procurement
d. Fabrication
e. Testing
f. Application and installation.

The napkin is produced in 3 step process of pressing, sealing and cutting and this machine has the ability to operate the 3 steps in a single cycle and has the capacity to produce 4 napkins in a minute. The machine is semi-automatic in nature and consumes very small amount of power. The dyes used in the machine are easily re-machinable and replaceable.

The material, which we are using is wood pulp and its bio-degradable in nature. The machine prototype is under testing and is being redesigned to make it production ready. So, the tentative price as per our assumptions and calculations should be Rs 2.5- Rs 3 per napkin.

As of now, the napkins are not out in the market. The reason is that this machine is my B. Tech research project and I cannot sell this product. I have developed the technology, design and the prototype using the engineering knowhow and I am sure the prototype will help in coming up with newer and optimized design of the same for our people. Our purpose is to give a new innovation in this field for rural India.

A large part of Gurgaon is still underdeveloped and rural and this type of product needs a well planned marketing strategy so that we can hit the target and provide this product at a lost cost.

The state of health and hygiene in Gurgaon needs a lot of management. On one side, the health services are improving with the coming up of large number of private hospitals that are providing quality healthcare facilities to the urban population. But on the other side, which is the darker side, if we talk about the rural population, there's only few hospitals for them (Government hospitals) and that too in a very poor state.

These hospitals sometimes even can not provide basic health treatments. So, this raises the question, where should the rural people go for their treatment? And the answer needs to be found out.

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