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
Broken Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 92°
Kokomo
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 89°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 86°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 86°
Williamsport
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 87°
Crawfordsville
Broken Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 84°
Frankfort
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 86°
Delphi
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 89°
Monticello
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 89°
Logansport
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 63°
Hotter & More Humid with Some Storms, Then a Cool-Down
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 78632

Reported Deaths: 3113
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16437734
Lake7952283
Elkhart505191
Allen4161164
St. Joseph376683
Hamilton3033104
Vanderburgh212215
Hendricks1978109
Johnson1819119
Cass18139
Porter141539
Clark135250
Tippecanoe129312
Madison106266
LaPorte96730
Howard94865
Kosciusko87812
Bartholomew86747
Floyd86150
Marshall80523
Monroe78432
Vigo77913
Delaware77752
Dubois72912
Noble71729
Boone71646
Hancock70239
Warrick61230
Jackson6075
Shelby57328
LaGrange57110
Grant53330
Dearborn52828
Morgan50135
Henry46720
Clinton4624
Wayne41010
White38411
Montgomery36721
Harrison36524
Lawrence35927
Decatur35332
Putnam3318
Daviess29620
Scott28110
Miami2792
Jasper2662
Greene25934
Franklin25116
Gibson2464
DeKalb2444
Jennings23312
Ripley2218
Steuben2173
Carroll2135
Fayette2097
Perry18913
Orange18824
Posey1840
Starke1817
Wabash1805
Wells1802
Fulton1752
Jefferson1752
Knox1711
Sullivan1631
Whitley1626
Tipton15516
Washington1531
Clay1505
Spencer1403
Randolph1345
Huntington1303
Adams1242
Newton12110
Owen1131
Rush1004
Jay970
Pulaski841
Brown762
Fountain762
Pike670
Blackford662
Benton640
Ohio636
Vermillion620
Switzerland590
Parke581
Martin530
Crawford500
Union420
Warren251
Unassigned0207

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