India is about to cross an important milestone in implementing the GST and this has brought to the forefront a long pending demand of various activists and organisations to reduce or abolish the tax on SANITARY NAPKINS.
Data in the public domain show:
- Only about 12% of the 355 million women use sanitary napkins.
- This 12% is liable to a VAT that can go up to 14% varying from state to state.
- In the rural area only 2% of 75% target population use it.
- Media reports a 12% tax is expected to be applicable even with the proposed GST (Goods and Services Tax).
- In India, an estimated 70 % of women cannot afford sanitary napkins.
Making it affordable
It is bound to have an impact on attendance of girls in schools, adding impetus to greater women participation in our work force which is just a meager 21.9%. Affordability, ease of availability and accessibility needs to be at the forefront of this battle.
As the plastic used in sanitary napkins is non-biodegradable it leads to degradation of the environment.A minimal tax can be imposed on disposable sanitary napkins to dissuade its use on large scale in order to safe-guard the environment.
A 100% tax exemption for the production and distribution of environment and health friendly pads(reusable cloth sanitary napkins and environment friendly napkins) will:
- add impetus to the reach of the product
- also help the organisations involved in the production of these pads that also gives livelihood opportunities to rural women.
Why is the tax unfair?
Women are being taxed 12 months a year, for about 39 years on a process they have no control over.
What the government needs to do
With the GST that is going to be implemented, a step needs be taken by the central government to make sanitary napkins tax free (like condoms and contraceptives) as it is an essential item which is a necessity for every woman.
This step will only bolster the idea of 'Beti Bachao Beti Padao' and 'Swachh Bharat'.
How you may help
On the occasion of the International Women’s Day let us take a pledge for our future and the future of millions of Indian women. I request one and all to sign the petition to make way for Tax Free Wings.