STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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.

Terre Haute
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 73°
Robinson
Scattered Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 69°
Indianapolis
Scattered Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 74°
Rockville
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 67°
Casey
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 72°
Brazil
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 73°
Marshall
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 73°
July Heat
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 143185

Reported Deaths: 6923
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook905364565
Lake9719416
DuPage9032470
Kane7703268
Will6686319
Winnebago303094
McHenry203297
St. Clair1874135
Kankakee127265
Kendall95620
Madison93268
Rock Island92529
Champaign86012
Boone58621
DeKalb55018
Peoria48728
Sangamon42631
Jackson33219
Randolph2857
Stephenson2705
Ogle2614
McLean26013
Clinton23617
Macon23222
LaSalle21617
Union18819
Whiteside18615
Coles16417
Grundy1624
Iroquois1575
Warren1360
Knox1300
Cass1292
Morgan1283
Monroe12713
Tazewell1278
Williamson1154
Jefferson10717
McDonough10015
Lee972
Adams871
Henry841
Pulaski740
Marion650
Vermilion652
Douglas520
Macoupin513
Perry511
Unassigned480
Jasper467
Montgomery441
Christian434
Livingston432
Jo Daviess421
Jersey351
Woodford332
Ford311
Bureau292
Menard250
Fayette233
Alexander220
Mason220
Wabash220
Carroll212
Johnson200
Mercer200
Piatt190
Washington190
Crawford180
Hancock181
Shelby181
Moultrie170
Fulton150
Clark140
Franklin140
Logan140
Wayne141
Bond131
Schuyler130
Effingham121
Cumberland110
Massac110
Brown100
Edgar100
Greene90
Saline90
Henderson80
Marshall80
Lawrence70
De Witt60
Hamilton50
Richland40
White40
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Pike20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Out of IL10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 45594

Reported Deaths: 2640
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11329679
Lake4847239
Elkhart304143
Allen2649110
St. Joseph183065
Cass16369
Hamilton1463100
Hendricks136699
Johnson1232118
Porter68036
Madison64263
Tippecanoe6338
Clark61644
Bartholomew57844
Howard54256
LaPorte53425
Kosciusko4842
LaGrange4566
Jackson4543
Noble43428
Delaware42548
Boone42142
Hancock41835
Shelby41425
Vanderburgh4136
Marshall4093
Floyd36244
Morgan31831
Grant28526
Montgomery28520
Clinton2792
Dubois2596
White25710
Monroe24428
Decatur24332
Henry23515
Lawrence22924
Vigo2228
Harrison20822
Dearborn20322
Warrick19629
Greene18431
Miami1802
Jennings16910
Putnam1658
DeKalb1574
Scott1547
Daviess13816
Orange13323
Wayne1276
Franklin1248
Steuben1232
Perry1188
Ripley1127
Carroll1082
Jasper1072
Wabash1072
Fayette957
Newton9410
Whitley794
Randolph764
Huntington702
Starke683
Jay670
Wells671
Fulton661
Jefferson641
Washington641
Knox620
Clay594
Pulaski591
Rush563
Benton470
Adams451
Sullivan451
Owen431
Gibson412
Brown381
Blackford352
Posey320
Spencer301
Tipton301
Crawford290
Fountain282
Switzerland240
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Warren141
Union130
Vermillion130
Pike60
Unassigned0192