The decision to levy 12% GST on sanitary napkins has sparked a widespread outrage. Following which the Maharashtra state women and child welfare Minister Pankaja Munde has decided to write to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley about making sanitary napkins tax-free. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council will be meeting on June 3 to finalize the rates.
While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Munde asserted the need of affordable sanitary napkins for women and informed that a letter will be sent to Finance Minister to make sanitary pads tax-free from her department.
“There should be minimum tax on sanitary pads. If they are made tax-free then it is a welcome step. Before the final GST Council meet we will write to finance minister and request him to make pads tax-free. Many NGOs have approached me with this issue,” said Munde.
Meanwhile, the state child and women welfare Ministry has launched ‘Asmita Project in accordance with UNICEF. The project was launched on the occasion of World Menstruation hygiene day that is observed on May 28 internationally. The project aims at increasing the usage of sanitary napkins from 17% to 70% within in a year.
The project will be implemented with the help of self-help groups in the state. Tenders will soon be issued for the manufacturing companies to take part in it and then the self-help groups will act as retailers. Under this project a pack of 8 sanitary napkins will be available for only Rs 20. These packs will be available at the subsidized rate of rupees five for the school going girls.
“Our aim is to spread awareness and scientific knowledge about the natural process of menstruation. Asmita means dignity and through this project we intend to give women their basic right of sanitary pad,” said Munde.
On Sunday, on the occasion of world menstrual hygiene day, Maharashtra Chief Minister’s wife Amruta Fadanvis and renowned senior Bollywood actress Zeenat Aman inaugurated India’s first of its kind sanitary pad bank in Versova. The aim of this bank is to provide sanitary pads for those women who can’t afford them. Any women can donate pads at this bank. Versova MLA Bharti Lavekar and her TEE foundation has initiated this idea.