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Goods like Bindi, kajal and sindoor have been made GST-Free, but sanitary napkins taxed 12% GST. Delhi HC asks the centre for reasons. Read here.
The Delhi High Court asked the centre about its recent decision to exempt traditional goods like bindi, kajal and sindoor from GST as opposed to something much more practically important like sanitary napkins. What makes sanitary napkins coincide with the ‘luxury items’ for the govt.? Is the centre trying to tell me that only privileged women who can afford sanitary napkins face menstruation? This may sound absurd but this the only explanation I can formulate out of this ridiculous categorisation.
As reported in an article by The Wire, a petition was filed by Zarmina Israr Khan, a PhD scholar from JNU, who questioned the 12% tax that is imposed on sanitary napkins. Quoting from the same article,
“The petition said that the government had exempted goods like kajal, kumkum, bindis, sindoor, alta, plastic and glass bangles, hearing aids, passenger baggage, puja samagri of all kinds and all types of contraceptives, including condoms, from the purview of taxation but not extended the exemption to sanitary napkins, which are essential for the health of women.”
Why does the centre have this suffocatingly stereotypical approach towards the concessions it has made in the GST goods spectrum for women? I’m pretty sure that every woman I ask will, unequivocally, tell me that sanitary napkins are way, way more important than bindis. I can live without that red dot on my forehead but not without something that helps me contain the red that flows every month. I can almost sense a kind of cultural vote-bank that the govt is trying to create by safeguarding these ‘traditional’ things to please the gender-obsessed and ignorant part of the population.
The same article in The Wire also reported that the HC questioned the absence of any woman in the GST council which has 31 members. Excuse me, but last time I checked, women knew better about their needs than men do. It is something so, so obvious that even an elementary level kid would see the problem here.
Trust me when I say that if I could, I would opt out of having periods but that’s exactly what is not the case! I can’t unsubscribe to this monthly ordeal. And if the centre cannot help ease the pain of the cramps, then it doesn’t need to alleviate it either by making us empty our wallets on a basic need as a sanitary napkin.
Image source: By McKay Savage from London, UK (smiles and determination of rural Indian women #1) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons, for representational purposes only.
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New Delhi, India
I like to read, write, and talk. A feminist through and through,
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