Ever heard of something called a happy period, ladies? All of us know, to call that miserable four-day bloody drive happy, can never be more than a myth. But well, while every grumpy period of yours will continue to pester you, here’s a little reason the Government has brought in to brighten up your next period. Yes, its about the removal of the Good’s and Services Tax on our nasty sanitary napkins!
After a long year of protests, campaigns and unending struggle, the Government on last Saturday decided to exempt sanitary napkins from the ambit of Goods and Service Tax (GST). Earlier, sanitary napkins, your best mates during the cramp-y days, fell under the bar of a whopping 12 percent tax. All the fuss about levying tax on this menstrual hygiene product was the fact that it is no luxury, but an essential to every woman. An anomaly also lied in its categorization, for sanitary pads are put under “miscellaneous items” — the same category in which pencils, towels and crayons are also placed. An essential commodity and hygiene product should ideally come under the tab of “health”.
Taxing sanitary napkins was equivalent to taxing womanhood. This move might not create that big a ripple among the urban elite, but definitely the miserable scenario in the rural sphere experience reform. The biggest barrier to using a sanitary napkin is affordability, Around 70 percent of the women in India say that their family cannot afford them. This results in only a privileged handful (12-20 per cent) of women in India getting access to pads. The rest rely on shocking rudimentary means, such as cloth, synthetic materials, sand, ash, even cow dung cakes to see them through their periods.
Credit is also due to infotainment films like Padman, that addressed the issue with full might, that helped reduce the taboo of menstrual hygiene in India, thus propelling an urge among the Indian masses o the need for using sanitary napkins. Expressing his happiness, the Padman star Akshay Kumar tweeted in ecstasy: “One of those days when a news brings tears of joy as a cause close to your heart gets fulfilled. Thank you, #GSTCouncil, for understanding the need for menstrual hygiene & exempting sanitary pads from tax. I’m sure crores of women in our country are silently sending gratitude your way.”
The step is being welcomed men and women, thanking the Finance Minister for his generous and prime decision. While a lot of people have criticized the delay caused in initiating the move, calling it a long overdue, we should simply appreciate this combined effort and struggle put in by several women and men in pursuance of this abolition. The men too, like Mr. Piyush Goel, who chaired the GST Council Meet and the several other involved, who understood the vitality of striking tax off an essential commodity, thus enabling more and more women to lead a life with hygiene and dignity. Better late than never.
So while your uterus will continue to groan and moan, the deep hole down in your pocket shall have a reason to rejoice and rejuvenate. Smile, for there’s no more a tax for being born a woman.
You go girl! Happy Period to you :’)