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Home > News > Content
India Cancels Import Tariffs On Sanitary Napkins
Aug 17, 2018

India cancels import tariffs on sanitary napkins

The Indian government announced on Jul 21, 2018 that it would no longer impose a 12% import tariff on sanitary napkins. Some women's rights protection groups estimate that about 80% of women in this country are unable to use sanitary napkins. Tax exemption measures will help more women to spend their special days in school and in the workplace.

Menstrual products become affordable, promote women's education.

Indian Acting Finance Minister Peyush Goyal announced the abolition of import duties on sanitary napkins at a press conference after attending a meeting of the Commodities and Services Tax Commission in New Delhi on the 21st of July. Previously, the import duty rate of sanitary napkins was 12% according to the commodity and service tax imposed in July 2017 in India.

Some women's rights groups in India estimate that about 80% of women throughout the country are unable to use sanitary napkins during their menstruation. Because of the lack of sanitary supplies, coupled with the lack of toilets in schools, many girls can not go to school during the menstrual periods, which has become one of the main factors for female dropouts.

In rural India, some women lack hygiene knowledge. Because sanitary napkins are expensive and unaffordable, they have to use old clothes or cloth which increases the risks of infection and disease.

According to women's rights groups, the abolition of import duties on sanitary napkins by the Indian government will help more women to afford menstrual hygiene products and remove a major obstacle to women's schooling and employment.

400 thousand petitions appealed for tariff reductions

In order to reduce tariffs on sanitary napkins, Indian civilians and many rights and interests protection groups have been running around to launch petitions. They believe that sanitary napkins and condoms are also necessities of life and tariffs should be zero. The government set the import tax rate of sanitary napkins to 12% and it was to regard sanitary napkins as luxury goods.

Last year, Congressman Sushmita Dev launched an online petition calling on the government to reduce tariffs on sanitary napkins and obtained more than 400,000 signatures.

At the beginning of this year, Bollywood's first menstrual hygiene-themed film, Patron, was released, sparking a heated debate. The actor in the film, Aksey Kumar, joins a campaign to promote menstrual hygiene, advocating more women to use sanitary napkins.

Amar Tulsyan, the group's founder, said that the news of the Indian government cancelling tariffs on sanitary napkins was "a great victory for everyone". According to him, 82% of women in India are unable to use sanitary napkins, and the tax exemption is a "great benefit".

"This is a much-anticipated and necessary step to help women stay at school and at work," said Surbish Singh, head of a foundation in India that aims to raise awareness of women's menstrual health, "This will help them grow and show real potential. "