- Supriya Sule, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP tweeted, “Women’s health, cleanliness and the facilities should not be the government’s medium of generating revenue. Tax-free sanitary pad is every woman’s right. We will put forward these demands amongst the people.”#NoGSTForSanitaryPads
- Cervical cancer is now the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the fourth leading cause of cancer death in females worldwide. India is the second most populous country in the world. The deaths due to cervical cancer account for 27% (77,100) of the total cancer deaths in the country according to the data published by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
- India bears the huge burden of cervical cancer, while the rural women suffer the most from it, because of the lack of access to the advanced medical services. Most of the women in rural India use homemade cloth pads during menstruation. To add to the agony, still, there is a lack of awareness about menstrual hygiene.
- Women’s organisation had criticised the move of central government to tax sanitary pads under Goods and Services Tax (GST). They questioned when condoms and sindoor are tax-free, why not sanitary pads? And demanded to make it tax-free.
In India, menstruation hygiene remains one of the most important yet neglected health concerns. My Medical Mantra, through its campaign #TaxFreePads advocated no tax on sanitary napkins. Amruta Fadnavis, wife of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had also demanded complete exemption of sanitary napkins from this tax. While speaking exclusively to My Medical Mantra, Amruta Fadnavis strongly came out in support of tax free sanitary pads and termed it as an essential item and not a luxury item.
Women’s organisations across the country wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley regarding the same.
What happened in court?
- On Tuesday, The Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra government about the measures it has taken to bring down prices of sanitary napkins and create awareness.
- As per division bench of Justices it was an important issue affecting half the population.
- The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Shetty Women Welfare Foundation, which raised the issue of non-availability of sanitary napkins for ‘over 80 per cent of women’ because of lack of awareness or high prices.
- The petition also challenged the 12% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on sanitary napkins.
While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Mihir Desai, Advocate of the petitioner said, “I am happy with the order.”