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Free Bleeding

Free Bleeding

The recently concluded 28th GST Council drew unstinted appreciation from all right-minded citizens applause as it came up with the decision to finally approve tax exemption on sanitary napkins along with tax rate reduction on several other consumer products. Bollywood Actor Akshay Kumar through his sleeper-hit film Padman had made a concerted effort to create awareness on menstrual hygiene. The National Award winning actor expressed his gratitude towards the GST Council for making sanitary napkins GST-free. The Congress, while welcoming the decision, smirked that the Narendra Modi Government had finally paid heed to their GST reform suggestions.

But what really matters in that hundreds of thousands of women supported by progressive men in India who have been protesting against GST on sanitary pads have won the day. In other parts of the world too, for example in Britain, citizens took the lead in protests against what was termed the “tampon tax”. Hashtags such as #HappyToBleed have been doing the rounds on social media for a while now to end the stigma surrounding menstruation.

Menstruating is not a choice. And taxing female hygiene products had impacted women who were already suffering from multiple disadvantages. The decision to abolish GST on sanitary napkins is a small step in assuaging the many concerns women still have but a very welcome one nonetheless.



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