An online petition was directed to finance minister Arun Jaitley for removing taxes on sanitary napkins on change.org on the occasion of women’s day. As India is all set to implement the GST, the move has brought to the forefront a long awaiting demand of various activists and organisations to lessen or eradicate the tax on sanitary napkins.
According to the data available in the public domain, only about 12 per cent of the 355 million women use sanitary napkins. This 12 per cent is accountable to a VAT that can go up to 14 per cent varying from state to state. Notably, in the rural areas, only 2 per cent of 75 per cent target population uses the napkin.
As per the petition, an estimated 70 per cent of women cannot pay for sanitary napkins in India. Such circumstances are bound to leave an impact on attendance of girls in schools, adding impetus to greater women contribution in work force which is barely 27 per cent.
Thus, affordability, ease of availability and accessibility needs to be at the forefront of this fight.
“A 100 per cent 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 and also help the organisations involved in the production of these pads that also gives livelihood opportunities to rural women,” reads the petition.
Justifying that why it shouldn’t be taxable, the petition reads, “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 is 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.”
The petition urged people on the occasion of the International Women’s Day to take a pledge for future of millions of Indian women. It requests everyone to sign the petition to make way for Tax Free Wings.