Reduce GST on women's sanitary products to Nil
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In the recently concluded 2-day meeting of the GST council at Srinagar, all 9 rules of the new GST regime were cleared with consensus. GST now goes full steam ahead for its 01 July 2017 roll-out across the nation. Yet there are some jarring inequities in the proposed GST slab rates. Most can be ignored or lived with but one particularly catches the eye. The GST council has proposed a 12% tax slab for women's sanitary products like sanitary towels, tampons, sanitary napkins. This is made even more stark in light of the fact that they have proposed a Nil (0%) tax slab for articles like bindi, sindoor, kumkum.
In a country that close to half a billion women call home, we are taxing a basic healthcare product. Women across the country literally use wads of cotton cloth to absorb menstrual flow, which at best results in a mess and at worse can result in severe infections and, in some cases, even death. A large majority of women are unaware of the range of sanitary products at their disposal while others simply don't have the means to purchase them. In this scenario, instead of making these products cheaper and more accessible, we are levying taxes on these products. It is necessary to drop the taxation on this class of products totally in the interest of the better health of our women and girls. If we want to be counted as a developed country, we need to start behaving like one. And definitely taxing women's sanitary products is not desirable behaviour.
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