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Last Updated: Friday, 13 April 2007, 17:13 GMT 18:13 UK
India 'to drop' menstrual forms
All India Services (Performance Appraisal Report) Rules, 2007
The form asks for a "detailed menstrual history"
The Indian civil service is dropping part of a new appraisal form requiring female employees to detail their menstrual cycles, a top official says.

The ministry of personnel says that the decision to delete the controversial part of the form was taken following an intervention by the prime minister.

Some female civil servants described the form as grossly insensitive.

The questions were reported to have been put in the 2007 appraisal on advice from the health ministry.


"Following a series of protests we have decided to delete the objectionable part of the form which require women to provide details of their menstrual cycles," the secretary of the personnel department at the Ministry for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Satyanand Mishra, told the BBC Hindi service.

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The decision to scrap the "menstrual question" was taken after the Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP and women's activist, Brinda Karat led a delegation to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and asked him to intervene in the matter.

He in turn directed the ministry of personnel to drop the objectionable parts of the new appraisal form, Mr Mishra said.

Correspondents say that senior ministers were embarrassed over the issue, and wanted to stop left parties from making political capital out of it.

Ms Karat described the decision as a "victory for common sense".

Annual appraisals and health checks are mandatory in India's civil service, one of the country's largest employers.

Women in India
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Mr Mishra said on Thursday that since women officers had raised objections about certain questions in the form, he had written to the health ministry to ask whether specific information about their menstrual cycles was really required.

He was quoted earlier this week as saying that he assumed the new questions would "help evaluate the officer's fitness".

Under the new nationwide requirements, female officials also have to say when they last sought maternity leave.

One senior female member of staff said she was "gob smacked" at being asked about her menstrual cycle.


The questions at the root of the controversy are on page 58 of the new appraisal forms for the current year issued by the Ministry for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.

Women officers must write down their "detailed menstrual history and history of LMP [last menstrual period] including date of last confinement [maternity leave]," the form says.

Women working in the civil service told the BBC the government had no need for this kind of personal information.

"I am completely shocked!" said Sharwari Gokhale, environment secretary in western Maharashtra state.

"I have absolutely no words to describe how I feel and I have no intention of telling them anything about my personal life. I am gob smacked."

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