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After Months of Protests, GST Council Exempts Tax on Sanitary Napkins

The GST Council on Saturday exempted sanitary napkins from the tax, ending months of outrage over the government’s decision to levy a 12% charge on the essential commodity.

News18.com

Updated:July 21, 2018, 6:55 PM IST
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After Months of Protests, GST Council Exempts Tax on Sanitary Napkins
SFI activists protest demanding withdrawal of the 12% GST on sanitary napkins. (PTI Photo)
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New Delhi: The GST Council on Saturday exempted sanitary napkins from the tax, ending months of outrage over the government’s decision to levy a 12 per cent charge on the essential commodity.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the 28th Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting, Maharashtra finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said the government had decided to exempt sanitary napkins. He added that tax on bamboo had also been slashed to 12 per cent.

Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who also handles the finance portfolio, said several items under the 28 per cent slab had been brought down, ANI reported. “I think the 28 per cent tax slab should be done away with. The issue is being dragged unnecessarily,” he said.

This was interim finance minister Piyush Goyal’s first meeting in the absence of Union minister Arun Jaitley who is recovering from a surgery. GST was rolled out on July 1, 2017, and this is the first year when businesses will have to file annual returns for the 2017-18 fiscal by December 31, 2018. Businesses with a turnover of more than Rs 2 crore will also have to file audit reports along with the annual returns.

The decision to tax sanitary napkins had led to protests across the country. A group of students from Gwalior wrote messages on the napkins to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to eliminate the levy. Activists of a Left students union in Kerala also posted sanitary napkins to Union minister Arun Jaitley as a mark of protest.

What added to the outrage was the government’s decision to exempt articles such as bindi, sindoor, and kajal from GST.

Several celebrities had also spoken out against the move. Slamming the government, actress Konkona Sen Sharma had said, “If you don’t have any control over your bodily function, how can it be considered to be taxed under luxury goods?"

Netizens too had voiced their displeasure over the decision, with many calling it a “skewed idea of women empowerment”.





| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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