India scraps controversial tax on sanitary pads

Sanitary pads are now tax-free in India.The Indian government has decided to scrap a controversial 12% tax on ...

Posted: Jul 23, 2018 1:44 AM
Updated: Jul 23, 2018 1:44 AM

Sanitary pads are now tax-free in India.

The Indian government has decided to scrap a controversial 12% tax on the feminine hygiene products, it announced late Saturday, marking a victory for campaigners who have lobbied against the tax for more than a year.

"[The country's] sisters and mothers will be happy to hear that sanitary pads have been given a 100% exemption and brought down to a tax rate of zero," the country's acting finance minister Piyush Goyal told reporters. "Now there will be no [tax] on sanitary pads."

The decision is part of a round of tax cuts on several items under India's new national goods and services tax, which was introduced in July last year to bring the country's 29 states under a single tax system for the first time in its history.

Products had previously been taxed differently in different states, leading to long delays and several additional levies while moving goods across the country. Each product sold in India now attracts the same tax rate across the country, divided into five tax brackets ranging from 0% to 28%.

But sanitary pads -- which cost between five rupees ($0.08) and 12 rupees ($0.20) each -- were taxed at 12%, despite other items like contraceptives being exempt. The decision set off a storm of protest, with a petition by Indian lawmaker Sushmita Dev receiving more than 400,000 signatures.

Related: India's high tax on sanitary pads sets off storm of protest

Dev thanked all her supporters in a tweet on Saturday, and also criticized the government for taking more than a year to remove the tax on sanitary pads.

"Clearly the government had put forth frivolous arguments for one year and delayed it," she said.

Several other advocacy groups and celebrities also protested the tax, including a viral campaign called #LahuKaLagaan -- or "tax on blood" -- started by an organization called SheSays.

Many Indians celebrated the new tax exemption on social media.

But feminine hygiene products remain out of reach for the vast majority of India's women, with millions in impoverished rural areas using rags or even sawdust, ashes and leaves instead. The lack of proper menstrual hygiene and sanitation has been linked to girls dropping out of school and lower productivity in the workplace.

According to India's National Family Health Survey, more than 40% of Indian women aged 15 to 24 do not have access to sanitary products during their period.

India now joins Ireland, Kenya and Canada as one of the few countries where sanitary products are tax-free.

Protests are still continuing to demand similar laws in other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Several US lawmakers have campaigned against the so-called "tampon tax," while the "pink tax" -- where women pay more than men for similar products -- has also been slammed by activists around the world.

West Lafayette
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 83°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
80° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 80°
Rensselaer
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 75°
Fowler
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 83°
Williamsport
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 79°
Crawfordsville
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 79°
Frankfort
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 79°
Delphi
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 79°
Monticello
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 79°
Logansport
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 79°
Once more pleasant day before we see changes with an increase in heat and humidity, and thunderstorm chances.
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 749835

Reported Deaths: 13752
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1031281779
Lake555181006
Allen41642691
St. Joseph36959564
Hamilton36537416
Elkhart29373459
Tippecanoe22871224
Vanderburgh22544400
Porter19339325
Johnson18412388
Hendricks17594317
Clark13202193
Madison13128344
Vigo12606253
LaPorte12400221
Monroe12175175
Delaware10949198
Howard10270225
Kosciusko9615119
Hancock8556145
Bartholomew8162157
Warrick7854156
Floyd7775180
Grant7230179
Wayne7158201
Boone6922103
Morgan6742141
Dubois6211118
Marshall6208116
Cass5997109
Henry5894108
Dearborn589078
Noble580287
Jackson508774
Shelby500897
Lawrence4735121
Gibson444293
Harrison441073
Clinton440455
DeKalb438985
Montgomery434890
Whitley406042
Huntington402281
Steuben399359
Miami392968
Jasper387054
Knox375790
Putnam372160
Wabash360683
Ripley346570
Adams344955
Jefferson335685
White330853
Daviess3031100
Wells295181
Decatur289992
Greene286685
Fayette284864
Posey273735
LaGrange273072
Scott269955
Clay266048
Washington245034
Randolph244683
Jennings235249
Spencer234231
Starke227858
Fountain219147
Sullivan214043
Owen211258
Fulton202142
Jay200932
Carroll193420
Orange188155
Perry187037
Rush175726
Vermillion174044
Franklin170235
Tipton166046
Parke149016
Pike138134
Blackford136132
Pulaski120347
Newton113036
Brown104043
Crawford102316
Benton101114
Martin91615
Warren83615
Switzerland8108
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0420

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events