The women’s wing of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Monday launched a signature campaign to urge the government to make sanitary napkins tax free. Sanitary napkins are set to be taxed at 12 per cent under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. Menstruation being a natural phenomenon, hygiene and proper health during this period are fundamental rights of women, said NCP women’s wing president Chitra Wagh.
“Taxation of sanitary napkins which is a basic necessity, denies its access to many. It will make sanitary napkins unaffordable for millions of poor Indian women, and the health is jeopardised” she said. Wagh added, “Sanitary napkins are essential from women’s point of view and should be exempted from taxes. The government making other things tax free while neglecting the health of women is a very serious issue,” said Wagh.
She said that the present situation in the country is such that 20 per cent women in the country do not know what is sanitary napkin and in rural areas women cannot use them as they find them unaffordable. “Instead of making an essential commodity like sanitary napkins tax free, the government is levying 12 per cent tax. It seems the government wants to bar women from using sanitary napkins. We cannot tolerate this,” Wagh said.
To further press the demand to make sanitary napkins tax free, Wagh said that 27 per cent women across the world are suffering from uterus cancer. This consists of a large number of women from India. She said: “To help women and prevent them from suffering from such a disease, they need to be educated. It is the responsibility of the state government to make sanitary napkins available at an affordable price. Keeping the prevailing situation in mind, we are seeking the intervention of the Central government and urge them to exempt sanitary napkins from taxations under GST.”