This Indian politician is petitioning to make sanitary pads tax free
An estimated 70% of Indian women cannot currently afford to buy them.
On International Women’s day, a member of the Indian National Congress, Sushmita Dev, started a petition to abolish the tax on sanitary pads. Now, her petition on change.org is incredibly close to reaching its goal.
The petition says that only about 12% of the 255 million women in India use sanitary napkins. This is a startlingly low percentage, and is partly due to the fact that an estimated 70% of women cannot afford to buy them.
Getting rid of the tax has the potential to have huge repercussions. The petition says that the exemption “is bound to have an impact on attendance of girls in schools, adding impetus to greater women participation in our work force which is just a meagre 21.9%”. Anything that has the potential to get more girls in school definitely has our vote.
Throughout India, sanitary pads carry a tax of between 12%-14%, and Dev thinks that they should be made tax free “as they are a necessity for every woman”. For Dev, it is unfair because “women are being taxed 12 months a year, for about 39 years on a process they have no control over”.
Of course a tax exemption will not magically fix the problem as many women will still be unable to afford pads, but it definitely is a step in the right direction and has the potential to help many women.
The petition not only has women in mind, but also the environment. It proposes a minimal tax on disposable sanitary napkins to dissuade its large scale use, and a full exemption to environment friendly pads.
All in all, it aims to further the social campaigns of “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” (which aims to help the daughters of India) and “Swachh Bharat” (which promotes the country’s infrastructure).
The petition currently has 7,209 signatures, so is incredibly close to its 7,500 goal. Its aim is to petition to Arun Jaitley, who is the minister of defence and the home minister. The more buzz there is around the campaign, the more unlikely it is that Jaitley will ignore the matter.