Tax Cuts Only For Reusable Menstrual Hygiene Products

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Our petition crosses 800 supporters!

Thank you very much for your support to our petition. We have crossed 800 signatures! A lot of people are now aware of Reusable Menstrual Hygiene Products, especially the menstrual cup. But we cannot rest because we need many more signatures, for our petition to be noticed by the Minister of Finance. We would like to request each of you to share this petition that you signed among your friends, family and colleagues and encourage more people to sign it. We also thought we would use this update, to highlight the following points that you could use to convince others in your network: 1. Sanitary napkins are widely accessible and available: The commonly quoted data that only 12% of Indian women use sanitary napkins is based on a 2010 study and is outdated. Government schemes, discounted products by NGOs, free samples and donations by MNCs have all ensured that the number is constantly on the rise. The latest data from NFHS 2015-16 shows that 6 out of 10 women in India use sanitary napkins. 48% in rural India and 78% in urban India for women in the age group 15-25 years. In states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Delhi, the numbers are as high as 9 out of 10 women in the urban areas. 2. Sanitary napkin programmes for rural areas are inadequate and unsustainable: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has a scheme to provide a pack of 6 sanitary napkins under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) brand ‘Freedays’. These napkins are sold to adolescent girls at Rs. 6/- for a pack of 6 napkins in the village by the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA). The 6 napkins are not enough for a period, forcing the girls to buy additional at market rates. To add to this, the government supply is generally late and unreliable. The pads are of low quality. That such a welfare scheme itself is unsustainable, is evident in the latest news report of the status of this scheme in Karnataka. . We believe that the funds under the NRHM would be better used to provide education and awareness on menstruation, understanding our bodies, menstrual hygiene and discounting Reusable Menstrual Hygiene Products such as: cloth pads and menstrual cups to adolescent girls and women. 3. Reluctance to move away from disposable napkins: A study in rural Bihar has shown that once women get used to disposable sanitary pads, it becomes harder for them to switch to reusables like cloth pads, the demand for disposable sanitary pads increases. However, they are willing to experiment with something new like the menstrual cups. Menstrual cups being expensive, a tax-break on these will make them a little more affordable. 4. Menstrual cup - A boon to rural and urban poor : Another popular myth is that menstrual cups are popular among urban, upwardly mobile women. While it is true that at the current costs, rural women are not able to afford the product because they do not have resources to pay for the upfront costs, it has been seen that whenever they have been made available, women from rural areas and slums have adopted the cup because it is comfortable, saves water, a scarce resource, and makes economic sense in the long run. This video on YouTube, says it all 5. Funding research and Innovation- MAKE IN INDIA: There is much scope for innovation in the field of reusable menstrual hygiene products with parameters being improving access, usability and maintenance. If the government and the industry invests in R&D, products such as menstrual cups, labia pads, period panties and cloth pads, will diversify further and become more accessible and affordable to the common woman. We believe that our petition has created a ripple in the social media and has the potential to effect change, not just in terms of getting the necessary tax breaks, but at the policy level on menstrual hygiene solutions. Please do join us in making it happen. Green the Red campaign team

Green the Red
4 years ago