New Delhi: After a year long protest from all quarters, when finally the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council decided to exempt sanitary pads from the tax in its meeting on July 21, reactions poured in on social media welcoming the decision. From ordinary citizens, politicians to celebrities welcomed the government’s decision to exempt sanitary pads from the 12 per cent GST. The move is being seen as a relief to women especially in rural areas, and will hopefully give them access to a healthier and dignified life. While many thanked the government for finally withdrawing the tax for which they received much flak, others argued it was ‘better late than never’.
Actor Twinkle Khanna, who called the GST on sanitary pads as ‘Menstrual Tax’ has welcomed the decision and said:
When I raised questions about why there was GST on sanitary pads I had a large number of people barking at me – glad to see positive results finally.
Twinkle Khanna also congratulated the real life PadMan Arunachalam Muruganantham, a social activist from Tamil Nadu who introduced low-cost sanitary pads, for his work towards breaking taboos around menstrual hygiene in rural areas.
— Twinkle Khanna (@mrsfunnybones) July 21, 2018
While her husband, actor Akshay Kumar who essayed the role of reel life Pad Man and has embraced the cause in real life, also expressed his happiness to the news of the exemption.
“One of those days when a news brings tears of joy as a cause close to ur heart gets fulfilled. Thank you, #GSTCouncil, for understanding the need for menstrual hygiene & exempting sanitary pads from tax. I’m sure crores of women in our country are silently sending gratitude ur way,” tweeted Akshay Kumar.
One of those days when a news brings tears of joy as a cause close to ur heart gets fulfilled.Thank you, #GSTCouncil,for understanding the need for menstrual hygiene & exempting sanitary pads from tax. I'm sure crores of women in our country are silently sending gratitude ur way
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) July 21, 2018
A number of Ministers, Chief Ministers and leaders cutting across party lines took to Twitter to welcome the decision and called it a vital step towards the health and well being of women and girls. The Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi lauded the decision and stated that this will give the required thrust to our menstrual hygiene initiatives and will transform lives of many women.
Indeed, this will give the required thrust to our Menstrual Hygiene initiatives & will transform lives of many Women.
— Maneka Sanjay Gandhi (@Manekagandhibjp) July 21, 2018
Congress leaders Priyanka Chaturvedi and Jyotiraditya Scindia thanked Sushmita Deb, Member Parliament from Silchar, who initiated an online petition to make sanitary napkins tax-free, for championing this important cause.
Many congratulations Sushmita ji, your hard work&single minded focus on getting the GST exemption on sanitary napkins has paid off. The mahila virodhi government was forced to take corrective measures. This move will benefit lakhs of women across the nation- health & hygiene wise https://t.co/s9tlQ06Q2R
— Priyanka Chaturvedi???????? (@priyankac19) July 21, 2018
Another Congress leader Sachin Pilot also welcomed the move stating that the government took a year to understand that sanitary napkins are not a luxury item.
Finally! Govt is able to understand that #Sanitary napkins are not a luxury item, but a necessity.
It took 1 year to understand this. But guess, better late than never.
I welcome the move!????#GSTCouncilMeet
— Sachin Pilot (@SachinPilot) July 21, 2018
Shiv Sena Member of Parliament from Kalyan in Maharshtra, Dr Dhrikant Eknath Shinde, also congratulated the government for this decision as it will benefit women from rural areas.
The Goods and Services (#GST) council today decided to exempt #SanitaryNapkins from the GST, I welcome the decision taken and congratulate the Government for the same. This will definitely give relief to women especially from rural areas. pic.twitter.com/Fy7DJDDChs
— Dr Shrikant Eknath Shinde (@DrSEShinde) July 21, 2018
Here is how some of the Chief Ministers of BJP-led states and union ministers reacted to the news:
The landmark decision to exempt #GST on #SanitaryNapkins is another welcome amendment and a long standing demand of women across #India. A reminder that the #ModiSarkaar stands with its people – a government of the people.#GoodandSimpleGST #GSTCouncilMeet @PiyushGoyal
— Vasundhara Raje (@VasundharaBJP) July 21, 2018
A welcome decision to exempt sanitary napkins from GST at the 28th #GSTCouncilMeet chaired by Shri @PiyushGoyal. An important step by @narendramodi Govt. that is vital to the health and well-being of women and girls.
— Manohar Parrikar Memorial (@manoharparrikar) July 21, 2018
Major step in ensuring good health and hygiene for women!
Thank you Union Minister @PiyushGoyal ji for reducing GST on sanitary napkins to 0% (100% exemption) in today’s #GSTCouncilMeet !
GoM had been constantly follow up with GoI for this demand !
— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) July 21, 2018
Thankful to GST Council and Minister @PiyushGoyal for exempting Sanitary Napkins from GST; a welcome step towards encouraging menstrual hygiene among young girls and women. #GoodandSimpleGST pic.twitter.com/1jFsyTdsC4
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) July 21, 2018
A welcome decision to exempt sanitary napkins from GST at the 28th #GSTCouncilMeet .An important step by @narendramodi Government. This decision is vital to the health and well-being of women and girls.
I thank @PiyushGoyal Ji & member of GST Council for this important decision.
— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) July 21, 2018
Earlier this year during the launch of Asmita Yojna in the state, Maharshtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had decided to bear the cost of sanitary napkins for 50 girls for the next 12 months, whereas the state’s Minister for Rural Development, Women and Child Development, Pankaja Gopinath Munde decided to do the same for 151 girls for the next 12 months. The Asmita scheme aims to provide sanitary napkins at the discounted price to women in Maharashtra, a pack of eight sanitary napkins at Rs 5 only. Reacting to the news of GST exemption Ms Munde said that the move will help the Self Help Groups (SHGs) implementing the scheme on the ground.
#GSTCouncil removed GST on #SanitaryNapkins after our continuous follow up It will allow more girls, women access to healthier, dignified life. We have launched #ASMITA scheme to provide #SanitaryNapkins at very low price thro’ SHGs so this will boost jobs in rural areas
— Pankaja Gopinath Munde (@Pankajamunde) July 21, 2018
But the GST Council’s decision is seen as a victory for women from all walks of life across the country, who have been protesting ever since GST was implemented over a year ago.
Trisha Shetty, a social activist who founded SheSays, a non-profit that empowers the country’s women to act against sexual violence by providing education, legal, medical as well as psychological support, thanked the GST Council for doing what is right.
Huge win for us all -Sanitary napkins to be exempt from GST!
Thank you, GSTCouncil for doing what’s right by the women of India & dropping the #lahukalagaan @SheSaysIndia had filed a PIL over this issue along with other prayers in 2017.https://t.co/JjUmIRPtn8
— Trisha Shetty (@TrishaBShetty) July 21, 2018
Excellent news once confirmed: GST lifted off sanitary napkins. Our SC case on this point may (happily) be mooy. https://t.co/idmgsk6aP6
— Karuna Nundy (@karunanundy) July 21, 2018
Finally! Govt is able to understand that #Sanitarynapkins are not a luxury but compulsory.
They woke up after one year of #GST formation and 1 year before 2019 elections.
— Khushboo (@KhushbooTweets) July 21, 2018
She Wings, which is a social movement to spread awareness about menstrual health among homeless, low-income women and teens also welcomed the decision by posting a picture holding a sanitary pad which states “Thank you Finance Minister and GST Council”.
— SheWings (@theshewings) July 21, 2018
However, there are also some users on Twitter who argued that people who fought for the cause to make sanitary napkins tax-free should be thanked rather than the government, which took over a year to understand the concern.
देर आये दुरुस्त आये … sanitary napkins will be now out of #GST. Credit goes to Women leaders , NGOs , Women wings of political parties !
— Satyajeet Tambe (@satyajeettambe) July 21, 2018
Sanitary napkins exempted from GST after one year. Thank you to all the strong headed women behind it.#LahuKaLagaan ab nahi. 🙂
— Anushka (@anushkaapandey) July 21, 2018
— Swati Singh (@itssinghswati) July 21, 2018
“Better late than never. This is a great step in favour of women. #SanitaryNapkins are no more a luxury item,” said a user on Twitter.
“Yes exemption of GST from #SanitaryNapkins is an improvement but not something we should be content with, because it shouldn’t have even existed at the first place. Government needs to provide not just pads, but all sorta menstrual hygiene products for free instead,” tweeted another user.
Yes exemption of GST from #SanitaryNapkins is an improvement but not something we should be content with, because it shouldn't've even existed at the first place. Government needs to provide not just pads, but all sorta menstrual hygiene products for free instead.
— Indu Singh Tanwar (@InduSinghTanwar) July 21, 2018
Late to the party but congratulations ladiesss, #SanitaryNapkins are now GST exempted.
Imma buy myself comfort food from that saved money, can already picture myself putting on a kilo each month from now on. ????
— Statistictictic (@Shreya_Sagwal) July 21, 2018
Long overdue. Why it was there in GST?
— Pankaj Punu (@PunuPankaj) July 21, 2018
After explaining 100000 times why sanitary napkins cannot be made Gst free govt made it GST free, this has been the headline of finance ministry. First explained why Langar cannot be made GST free and then did it after brickbat. Why this indecision?
— अंकित जैन (@indiantweeter) July 21, 2018
Why thank you ???
They will do all these tricks till 2019 and God forbid, if idiots elect them again, we will beet back to posting exorbitant prices for everything https://t.co/Lijg60e2On
— Sneh Pandit ???????? (@snehh_pandit) July 21, 2018
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.