The Indian government has finally scrapped the tax on the sanitary napkins on Saturday. This move was appreciated by the campaigners who say that this will help more girls to go to school during their periods and also boost their job prospects.
Activists’ claims that by scrapping the GST on the sanitary pads helps in tackling biggest barriers of education for girls. We all know that girls in many schools are forced to stay back home during their periods as there are lack of toilets and sanitization facility which creates a big problem to them during these painful days.
Periods are one of the leading factors of our country where every girl has to go through pain for five days of every month. However, due to lack of money and high prices of sanitary pads, four out of five women avoid using sanitary napkins.
Interim Finance Minister, Piyush Goyal, stated during a news conference in New Delhi, “I am sure all mothers and sisters will be very happy to hear that sanitary pads are now 100 percent exempt from tax.”
Sanitary pads were taxed at 12 percent under Goods and Services Tax (GST) that was launched in July 2017.
When this decision was out, it led to huge protests, petitions and court cases. People questioned the government’s decision as why pads are taxed since it is an essential commodity and not a luxury such as condoms which are tax-free.
In the year 2017, lawmaker Sushmita Dev launched a petition to demand a reduction or total removal of taxes on pads. She demanded this owing to the issue that about 70 per cent of women in the country can’t afford them. The online petition gained more than 400,000 signatures.
Surbhi Singh, founder of Sachhi Saheli, a charity that helps in raising awareness on menstrual health stated, “This was a most-awaited and necessary step to help girls and women to stay in school, their jobs, to practise proper menstrual hygiene.”
She further said, “This will help them to grow, to show their true potential.”
The first film of Bollywood Padman was based on menstrual hygiene which starred Akshay Kumar triggered debate over the taboo subject of menstrual hygiene in India after its release earlier this year. The movie created a lot of awareness among the women in the country.