New Delhi: The GST Council slashed GST rates for over 200 items. From eating out to shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, shaving-cream, aftershave lotion, shoe polish to chocolate, chewing gum and nutritious drinks will become cheaper. However, Sanitary Napkins continues to attract 12 per cent GST and has been ignored from the bracket of the ‘Necessary Items’, despite being the most commonly used product by millions of women in India.
India has 355 million menstruating women and around 88 per cent of the women in the country still do not use sanitary pads. The reason being most women in India cannot afford the most basic necessity for their hygiene, a sanitary napkin. And the GST regime is not helping.
From July 1, ever since the new tax regime came into effect, many have questioned the 12 per cent rate for sanitary napkins. Across the country, some women staged protests, sat on hunger strikes, whereas some met the authorities to request for a rate cut. Recently, actor Kalki Koechlin through a short video titled Girls Ko Satao Tax, which is her interpretation of GST questioned the logic behind the 12% GST on sanitary napkins when condoms are tax free.
I don’t know about acche din but humari life mein har mahine paanch not-so-acche-din toh hote hi hain (I don’t know about good days, but in our lives, we have at least five mandatory not-so-good days).
and goes on to add even though different brands of sanitary napkins exist in the market neither of them come tax-free.
Even the Delhi High court following a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition has sought a reply from the Finance Ministry on imposition of 12% GST on Sanitary Napkins by November 15.