Silchar MP Sushmita Dev’s online petition to make sanitary napkins tax-free has received a lot of support. The petition, started after International Women’s Day, has received around 90,000 signatures.
Sushmita had written to Arun Jaitley in this regard but did not get a reply. This prompted her to launch a petition. “Though some parts of the country have already made napkins tax-free, it should be done at the national level. Everyone is helping the cause. Rahul Gandhi has tweeted it and MPs Gaurav Gogoi and Varun Gandhi have signed it. I hope it reaches the finance minister,” she told TOI. She said if condoms and contraceptives could be made tax-free, so should sanitary napkins. “I decided to start this petition after I didn’t any response from the minister. He shouldn’t think I’m doing this for political mileage,” she added.
According to a study titled ‘Sanitary Protection: Every Woman’s Health Right’, around 70% women in India could not afford to buy sanitary napkins. The report also says only 12% of the country’s 355 million menstruating women use sanitary napkins. “This move will impact millions of girls and women. It will make sanitary napkins cheaper for middle-class families and make them affordable for low-income families for the first time. Girls and women face a lot of stigma for menstruation,” the MP added.