FM wants sanitary pads to stay free from GST

The Asian Age.

Metros, Mumbai

Sudhir Mungantiwar writes letter to Central government after being presented sanitary napkins by MNS.

Shalini Thackeray met Mr Jaitley, asking him to remove GST on sanitary pads.

Mumbai: State finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has written a letter to the Union finance ministry, requesting it not to impose the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on sanitary napkins.

The letter comes in the wake of a delegation of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena women workers meeting Mr Mungantiwar and presenting him sanitary napkins in protest.

Addressing Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, Mr Mungantiwar asked that sanitary napkins — which are to be taxed at 18 per cent under the new tax regime — be made tax-free and included among essential commodities.

“A delegation including (MNS general secretary) Shalini Thackeray met you in New Delhi regarding GST on sanitary napkins.

She said a discussion was held on including sanitary napkins among essential commodities and that pads produced by Indian manufacturers should have a nil GST rate.

Looking at the importance of these products in regard to health and hygiene of women, you are requested to kindly consider their demands and direct the authorities concerned to do needful,” Mr Mungantiwar wrote in the letter.

Reacting to the development, Ms Thackeray said, “The four days of women’s menstruation are ‘achche din’ since these are the days that give life to humanity. It is unfortunate that the government wants to tax these very days. We’ve presented the same memorandum to the state finance minister that we had presented to Mr Jaitley. Apart from involving self-help groups, we also mentioned other pointers in the memorandum that aim at addressing bigger issues. The government has conveniently focused on involving self-help groups, reducing the significance and seriousness of this issue.”

Women’s organisations have been vocal in their opposition to GST being imposed on sanitary pads since the beginning.   

A few have written to the government to reduce the tax, as poor women cannot afford it.

Furthermore, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis wife, Amruta Fadnavis, has raised her voice against the tax.

However, she was not available for comment at the time of going to press.