Big Victory for SFI, AIDWA, and other Women Orgs. Tax on Sanitary Pads Revoked.
After months of protest and agitation all across the country the Government is finally forced to revoke the atrocious tax on sanitary napkins. The movement against the decision to impose tax on sanitary napkins was started by a group of Delhi University students associated with the Students’ Federation of India. The students, along with women affiliated to All India Democratic Women’s’ Association (AIDWA) came up with a novel way of highlighting the issue. They sent scores of sanitary napkins with #BleedWithoutFear, #BleedWithoutTax written on them to the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
It was a spark which was needed to light the fire. SFI All India Girls Sub-Committee picked up the issue from there and converted it to an nation wide movement. Comrade Dipsita Dhar, in an article elaborating on the movement wrote, “With the advent of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) from July 1, 2017, an unnecessary burden has been placed on small business traders and the common masses. Apart from that, there is one particular aspect of GST- which specifically affects girls and women. This pertains to the fact that sanitary pads and tampons will attract 12 per cent tax under the luxury goods. At the same time, gold, Sindoor, bangles etc. have been exempted from the tax (all symbols of domesticated, married women in some form or the other). This indicates the ideological leanings of the present government that the biological needs of women such as access to safe and affordable sanitary pads is a luxury while the image of an ideal Hindu married women is something to be celebrated….. It is in this context, the activists of Students Federation of India (SFI) started sending sanitary napkins to the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley demanding the immediate withdrawal of GST on sanitary napkins. The campaign has been popular and Jaitley may receive hundreds of sanitary napkins by July 14.”
After constant pressure made by SFI, AIDWA, and other organisations working on the issue of menstrual hygenie, the government was forced on annopunce the discontinuation of tax on sanitary napkins today (21st July, 2018).
The SFI statement on this victory, however, cautions that the movement must not stop at this issue. The statement comcludes by saying “Though this is a moment of happiness and relief, we want to mention that our struggle was to ensure the basic hygiene during the menstrual days for most of the women in our country who till now depend on many hazardous way due to lack of resources. Thus the demand of providing students and women sanitary napkin in minimum price and proper public sanitation still remain as relevant as it was in the beginning of our camping.
SFI in coming days will strive hard to ensure that women’s issues do not remain in exclusion but becomes an ISSUE in general.”