It is a victory of a long run demand, when the GST council, and the Modi-led NDA government scrapped the controversial tax on Sanitary pads on Saturday. The move was also hailed by various women groups and organization across India.
Women activists said that removing the tax on pads, by the NDA government, tackles one of the biggest barriers to education for girls, who are often forced to stay at home due to lack of access of clean hygienic products, while also face stigma and embarrassment because of lack of toilets in schools that are situated in remote areas of India.
Besides sanitary napkins, television, refrigerators, washing machines, electrical appliances, perfumes and several handicrafts items, among others, are set to get cheaper with the Good and Service Tax (GST) council’s latest decision taken last week to slash the rates on a host of items.
|Tax Reduced from 28%-18%:||Television, Refrigerators, Washing Machines, Electrical appliances, Perfumes and several handicrafts items.|
|Tax reduced from 18% to 12%:||Bamboo and its products|
|Tax reduced from 12%-0%:||Sanitary Pads|
|Benefitted People:||125 crore|
|Revenue Loss:||10,000 crore-11,000 crore|
A finance ministry source confirmed that millions of consumers, small traders and artisan will benefit from the move of the Modi-led NDA government, ahead of the festival season.
The council also decided to fully exempt sanitary napkins from GST, from the existing 12 per cent.
Fortified milk has also been fully exempted from the GST. After taking this decision Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said, “This will benefit 125 crore citizens, particularly low and middle income families, traders, and artisan.”
He also added, “I am sure all mothers and sisters will be very happy to hear that sanitary pads are 100 per cent exempt from the tax.” Sources said that this decision (Rate cuts and certain clarifications) will impact revenue to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore to Rs.11, 000 crore annually.
It has been further reported that the council also approved the proposal to allow quarterly return filling for taxpayers with turnover of up-to Rs 5 crore, a move that will benefit nearly 93 per cent of tax assesses as they would now be required to file returns only once in three months.
After hearing the decision, of 100 per cent tax exemption from sanitary napkin various organisations commented. Surbhi Singh, founder of Sachi Saheli said, “This was a most-awaited and necessary step to help girls and women in the country as most could not afford them.”
Amar Tulsiyan, founder of Niine Movement, called the GST council decision a big win for everyman in India.
According to a data nearly 82 per cent of women and girls have no access to sanitary pads in India. ‘Pad Man’ Akshay Kumar is at the forefront of a campaign by Nine Movement, an initiative that promotes menstrual hygiene, to help increase the number of women using pads. The Bollywood star, who led this movement, also welcomed the decision.