Pune: Experts from the city said that impact of slashing Goods and Service Tax (GST) from sanitary napkins will leave a positive impact on its use.
On Saturday, the GST Council slashed the 12 per cent tax on sanitary pads after the uproar over it. Nevertheless, the tax was charged for nearly a year which saw major criticism across the country.
Speaking to Sakal Times, Kiran Moghe, secretary of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and a social activist from the city said there is a need to establish community business to manufacture sanitary napkins.
“The sanitary napkins used today are produced by multi-national companies (MNCs). There is a dire need to start community initiatives where sanitary napkins are self-made so that the awareness is more and the napkins are also reaching a wider range of women and girls. This will also ensure that the overall cost of napkins is reduced,” said Moghe.
According to a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) study conducted last year, 60 to 70 per cent of girls in Maharashtra avoid school when they are menstruating.
Speaking about this, Anagha Tambe, Director, Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule Women’s Studies Centre at Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) said the overall menstrual hygiene of the girls, as well as women, will increase.
“We know that using sanitary pads is helpful in keeping good personal hygiene. The reduction in cost will help more girls and women use it and work better and have a normal routine during their menstrual cycle. This not only means better attendance at school but also efficient professional work sphere which itself is empowering women,” said Tambe.
The use of sanitary napkins means better menstrual hygiene for girls, emphasised Tambe. “With better menstrual hygiene, girls and women can lead a healthier life,” said Tambe.
Speaking about the next step, social activist and city-based Advocate Rama Sarode said the next step should be making sanitary pads accessible to everyone.
“Making it accessible will ensure that the basic minimum standard of health and hygiene has reached everyone. Overall, to remove the GST on such an essential commodity is a good and a positive step,” said Sarode.
Pravin Nikam, gender rights activist and founder of NGO Roshni, said the decision is welcome.
“Kudos to all women, civil society organisations and gender activists across the country for relentlessly pursuing the case of exempting sanitary pads under GST. The decision by GST Council to exempt sanitary pads from GST is a result of civil society’s consistent efforts towards ensuring good health for the women of this country,” said Nikam.