There has been no relaxation on GST on sanitary napkins.
A sanitary napkin should be considered as a fundamental right of every woman, as it is a necessity every month. Turning a deaf ear to the outcry of women to make sanitary napkins tax-free, the GST imposes 12% tax on this necessary item. Though there has been a fall from the earlier tax rate of 14.5%, the decision is still irrational, as products like sindoor and bindis are tax free. I cannot understand how this makes sense for the government.
Putting sanitary napkins, an essential need for almost all adult women, in a non-essential tax bracket, shows the utter ignorance of women’s health issues by the government. Back in 2012, the Union Health Ministry along with Family Welfare Ministry had launched a Rs.100 crore scheme to push access and affordability of sanitary napkins among adolescent girls in rural areas. While it faced access and safe disposal issues, the fact that it didn’t significantly increase usage of sanitary napkins is a matter of concern. This means that there are other factors than the cost, which hinder menstrual hygiene in India.