Students Federation of India (SFI) demands the immediate withdrawal of the added taxation on sanitary napkins and ensure the maximum reach of the menstrual protection tools in lowest prices.
In the recent budget of Modi government, sanitary pads are considered as luxury items and taxed accordingly, when the reality is that these are utter necessity of a woman for healthy life. In a study by AC Nielsen published in the International Research Journal of Social Sciences shows that among woman who does not use sanitary pads Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI) is 70% more common than those who have the access to it. The gynaecologists involved in this study also claims use of tampons can reduce the risk of cervical cancer and many more diseases related to the reproduction system. But the ground reality of Indian menstrual health is shocking and disturbing. According to the same study only 12% of total woman in their menstrual age uses sanitary napkins, over 88% depends on the alternative unhygienic ways like unsanitised clothes, ashes and husk sand. This leads to a decline in productivity by 31%, where they miss average 2.2 days in their workplace, in North India over 30% of girls stopped going to school after the start of their menstrual cycle due to the lack of adequate sanitary products. 83% of these girl said that their family cannot afford sanitary pads, added to that there are problems of social taboo where even talking about Periods, free movement during these days are restricted with notion of purity and pollution . Now the further inflation in the prices will push away many more poor women and girl of this country from a healthy reproductive health.
Condoms and Contraceptives are announced to be tax free as they are essential for the reproduction health, but it is astonishing how the government after this harsh reality also don’t find the urge of making sanitary napkins free or at least tax free. All India Girls’ Subcommittee demands the sanitary pads to be tax free and in remote areas and to the poorer section of the country the government should take initiative to encourage the use of disposable and reusable sanitary pads to ensure a healthy menstrual health of the women.