Thursday, 27 July 2017

12 per cent GST... on essential items like sanitary napkin?

Sanitary napkin is treated as a health product in the developed nations across the world. It has been treated as medical device in the US. US Food and Drug Administration monitors it. It has to undergo various quality tests. While it has been included in the category of miscellaneous items like towels and pencils in our country.  There are about 43 crore women in our country. This sanitary napkin is the most essential item for them, but the government is levying 12 per cent GST placing it in Miscellaneous category. protests across the nation is natural. VanashriVankar, who first of all sent a video to the Prime Minister NarendraModi and Finance Minister ArunJaitley against itsays that even today the women and girls in the rural areas are not habitual of using the sanitary pads. They need free supply of pads if they are to be awakened. As such the levy of 12 per cent is totally wrong. If the government can’t supply it for free, it may atleast provide subsidy for it. GST on sanitary pads should be rolled back. In this regard LalitaKumarmanglam, Chairperson of Nation Commission for Women says that there should be no GST at all on pads manufactured by Self Help Groups. Even though they too are using the cotton but the reduction or concession for the multinationals should be subject to some conditions. They should provide free napkins and also awaken the women in the villages. Besides it the quality of the product should also be checked. Sushmita Deb, an MP from Assam says levying so much GST on sanitary napkins implies discouraging  women about its use. The scheme running under the National Health Scheme should be strengthened. This decision of the government is completely wrong. Union Minister Maneka Gandhi herself also favours such demand of the women. She said that she has written many times to the Finance Minister regarding the sanitary napkin. Not only this, she also supported the campaign against it. Such step of the government has also been challenged in the court by an NGO “She Says”, working under the Shetty Women Organisation. It says that it needs to be placed in the Basic essential items’ list, removing it from the miscellaneous category.  As per this society, about 88% women (about 43.7 crore) can’t use the sanitary pads. They use torn cloths, hay, sand, newspaper and plastic etc. GST on sanitary napkins should be completely pulled back.

-          Anil Narendra

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