The new GST tax regime under Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley shows no hope to match up to the ‘progressive’ thoughts the central government keeps projecting. The Union Government’s move to impose a 12% tax on sanitary napkins and fly ash bricks, while imposing no tax on sindoor just shows that their priorities seem sorted.
Eco-friendly fly ash bricks and a basic necessity like sanitary napkins, towels and tampons get taxed 12% while clay bricks get taxed 2% and accessories like sindoor, kumkum, bindi and alta don’t get taxed at all, not to mention beedis. So basically all the Indian women who tweeted to Arun Jaitley in April with the hashtag #LahuKaLagaan and urged him to levy the tax on sanitary napkins have been ignored.
Except, I guess he hasn’t technically ignored them. Some might say that the tax being reduced to 12% from 14.5% is an improvement, especially for something that is still considered a ‘luxury item’. But in reality, the tax still varies between 12 & 14.5% depending on the state you’re in. It is a worrying trend that the government continues to disregard and ignore the fact that a sanitary napkin is an essential product while 88% girls in India continue to suffer from UTIs because they cannot afford this ‘luxury item’.
So basically the image of a woman post marriage – with sindoor, bindi, etc are worth celebrating. But when the woman bleeds, month after month, and needs hygiene products to ensure she doesn’t suffer, the burden is hers alone to bear. Condoms on the other hand are tax-free, safe sex FTW. So yay?