India Remove Tax On Sanitary Products After Campaign
Following campaign by activists, the government of India has scrapped the 12% tax placed on all sanitary products. This is coming after one year of the tax being introduced by the government.
The tax known as GST was placed on all goods including 12% duty on menstrual hygiene products.
The activists argued that the tax would make sanitary products even more unaffordable in a country where an estimated four out of five women and girls already have no access to items like sanitary pads.
Founder of Sachhi Saheli – a menstrual health awareness charity, Surbhi Singh told the Thomson Reuters Foundation: “This was a most-awaited and necessary step to help girls and women to stay in school, their jobs, to practise proper menstrual hygiene.
“This will help them to grow, to show their true potential.”
One major reason girls drop out of school in India is the issue of menstruation while many others are forced to stay at home because they can’t access sanitary products. Some women make use of cloth or rags which, if not clean, increases the risk of infections.
Due to this, an immediate spark – which led to the campaign – arose when the government branded tampons and sanitary pads a luxury item, with a 12% tax. The campaign included court challenges and petitions – one of which got more than 400,000 signatures.
It was known as Lahu ka Lagaan in Hindi, which translates as “blood tax”.
The tax removal was announced by India’s interim finance minister, Piyush Goyal, who said he was “sure all mothers and sisters will be very happy to hear that sanitary pads are now 100% exempt from tax”.
Campaigner Amar Tulsiyan, founder of Niine Movement, explained that it was “a big win for everyone” in India.
Similarly, in the UK, a 5% tax still exists despite campaigners calling for it to be scrapped.