Women politicians welcome no GST on sanitary pads

Women politicians welcome no GST on sanitary pads

After almost a year of campaigning by advocates, India removed a controversial 12 percent tax on sanitary pads Saturday. This would mean there would be no input tax credit available, even though inputs in the production of sanitary napkins are taxed. Suhani Mohan, founder, Saral Design, a manufacturer of low-priced sanitary pads as quoted in the ET report said, "We think in effect the overall price difference to the customer will be small". On one hand, we are promoting health and hygiene, while on the other we are imposing the GST on sanitary napkins.

The Council also exempted several handicraft items such as stone, marble and wooden deities, rakhis without precious stones, brooms and commemorative coins from GST, union finance minister Piyush Goyal said. They are often forced to stay at home due to a lack of access to clean hygiene products, while also facing stigma.

Just 12 per cent of Indian women could afford sanitary pads.

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So when the government branded tampons and sanitary pads a luxury item, with a 12% tax, it sparked an immediate campaign to get the measure revoked, including court challenges and petitions - one of which got more than 400,000 signatures.

Harpreet Singh, Partner - Indirect Tax, KPMG in India said that rate rationalisation on so many products is nothing short of being akin to the annual budget announcements.

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Mr. R. Muralidharan, senior director, Deloitte India, said he believed the reduction of GST from 12% to 5% would have actually helped the industry.

"It may not be the most marvelous move for the overall budget, but it is not a bad deal either if overall collections pick up for the government", said Indranil Pan, chief economist at IDFC Bank Ltd.in Mumbai. For example, many bicycle manufacturers here were getting bogus bills of paints, enamels on which the GST was 28 per cent.

Earlier, there was a lack of clarity on the issue causing a lot of trouble for consumers booking hotels with "declared tariffs" of Rs 7,500 and above which incurred 28 per cent GST.

Among items on which GST was reduced include footwear, small televisions, water heater, electric ironing machines, refrigerators, lithium ion batteries, hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, food appliances and ethanol.

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