India scraps tampon tax after campaign

India scraps tampon tax after campaign

The announcement in this regard was made by Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal following a meeting of the GST Council, which chose to reduce tax rates on a wide range of daily use appliances and products.

Sanitary pads were taxed at 12 percent under the GST, which was launched a year ago.

In March 2017, MP Sushmita Dev had petitioned then finance minister Arun Jaitley, Minister for Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda and Minister For Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi to have sanitary napkins exempted from tax as they were not luxury products. The Finance Minister also informed that several products inclusing the sanitary napkins are now have been kept outside the GST ambit.

Among items on which GST was reduced include footwear, small televisions, water heater, electric ironing machines, refrigerators, lithium ion batteries, hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, food appliances and ethanol. "By imposing 12% GST on sanitary napkins, the government has tried to make a mockery of women", said Pooja Singh, Secretary of the NGO.

The announcement comes a year after the government introduced the tax, known as GST, on all goods - including the 12% duty on menstrual hygiene products. The new prices will be effective from July 27.

Amar Tulsiyan, founder of Niine Movement, called Saturday's decision "a big win for everyone" in India, where, he said, 82 percent women and girls have no access to sanitary pads.

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The reverse charge mechanism has been deferred by a year to September 30, 2019, the minister said, while adding that the businesses with turn over of up to Rs 5 crore can file quarterly returns.

The official, however, said that the revenue loss would be only notional as increased consumption and compliance would lead to more revenues to the exchequer.

George Osborne announced as far back as 2016 that the government would seek to abolish the "tampon tax" but Britain now remains tied to European Union rules.

Among other changes, small businesses with sales of up to Rs 5 crores has been allowed to file tax returns on a quarterly basis but they will have to pay GST tax monthly. He said, besides revenue collection, the GST council will now focus on job creation as well.

Earlier, the council had revised tax rates on 29 items in January.

"It would be ideal if only demerit goods are retained in the 28 per cent slab so that a gradual movement towards having fewer GST slabs can be initiated", Mani said.

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