India scraps tampon tax after campaign | 2018-07-22 |

India scraps tampon tax after campaign

BBC     22nd July, 2018 02:07:50 printer

India scraps tampon tax after campaign


India has scrapped its 12% tax on all sanitary products following months of campaigning by activists.


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.


Campaigners argued the tax would make them even more unaffordable in a country where an estimated four out of five women and girls already have no access to items like sanitary pads.


The news was welcomed by campaigners.


Periods are one of the leading reasons why girls drop out of education in India, while many others are forced to stay at home because they can't access sanitary products.


Some women use cloth or rags - which, if not clean, can increase the risk of infections.


So when the government branded tampons and sanitary pads a luxury item, with a 12% tax, it sparked an immediate campaign to get the measure revoked, including court challenges and petitions - one of which got more than 400,000 signatures.


It was known as Lahu ka Lagaan in Hindi, which translates as "blood tax".


The announcement their campaign had been successful was made by India's interim finance minister, Piyush Goyal, who said he was "sure all mothers and sisters will be very happy to hear that sanitary pads are now 100% exempt from tax".


Period poverty is not only a problem affecting women in India. According to charity Plan International UK, one in 10 disadvantaged girls below the age of 21 cannot afford sanitary products.


The UK still has a 5% tax, despite campaigners calling for it to be scrapped.