The biggest tax reform in India Goods and Services tax (GST) was rolled out on July 1 across India except Jammu & Kashmir. Even though many have hailed the new tax regime for simplifying the complicated process of taxation, it has drawn the ire of women for taxing on sex-specific items.
The most controversial decision of the govt is to put sanitary napkins under the 12% tax slab, while condoms will be tax-free.
Many women activists had urged the govt to keep feminine hygiene products tax free.
Although government’s decision to keep condoms tax-free must be appreciated, for it is necessary to curb the ever-rising population and transmission of sexual diseases. Female reproductive health should be given equal attention considering the fact that most women in rural areas are unable to afford feminine products and are forced to resort to less-hygienic alternatives.
Gender price gap has been a centre of many debates in the past as well. According to a US study, even routine women products like shampoo, body wash, lotion, clothes — even contraceptives cost more than the men’s products, even though it is statistically established that women are paid less than their male counterparts.