Zero GST Has Made Sanitary Napkins Cheaper But Are They Safer?

Gender

Zero GST Has Made Sanitary Napkins Cheaper But Are They Safer?

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

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few days ago, at the 28th meeting of the GST Council, finance minister Piyush Goyal announced that sanitary pads would now be tax-free. At least someone in the government seems to be listening. This exemption came after a year of protests, petitions, and outrage over sanitary products – including sanitary pads, towels, and tampons – attracting a 12 per cent tax and being branded as “luxury products” instead of being considered essential items, like condoms. Because, you know, most of us can’t help menstruating.   

Immediately after the decision, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble – the two brands that dominate the Indian sanitary pad market – promised a two to three per cent price cut, claiming that they were “committed to pass on the GST rate reduction to consumers”. Activists hailed it as a major victory, adding that the tax exemption will make sanitary pads affordable and “help girls and women to stay in school, their jobs, to practise proper menstrual hygiene”.

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