Published: 11th July 2017
SFI has 'bloody' good idea: Asks students to send pads to Finance ministry to protest GST on sanitary napkins
As a way of protesting against the 12 percent GST levied on sanitary napkins, members of SFI from different parts of the country will send pads with messages to the Finance Ministry
The Student Federation of India has always been known to take to the streets for the slightest issues but this new protest by far is one that will probably go down in history as one of the most innovative. The student body is asking women students from across the country to send the Finance Ministry pads with messages protesting against the new GST.
The protest named "Bleed without fear, bleed without tax" is reminiscent of the "Pink Chaddi" campaign that was organised in 2009 against the right wing and conservative groups, after an incident where women in Mangalore were molested and beaten up for drinking in a pub. The protest was launched by appropriately named, "Consortium of Pub-Going, Loose and Forward Women" and got widespread coverage after hundreds of pink women's underwear ended up at the RSS group, Ram Sene's office.
Demonstrations and protests could also follow but for now, members say that this type of a protest seems the most appropriate and feel that it woudl yield them their required results. "The campaign will start on the 11th of July and go on until the 14th, during these days, women across the country will send pads with a message written against this taxation and demanding adequate vending machines and providing women below poverty line with six packets of sanitary napkins for one rupee," said a member of the SFI.
As the debate rages on, the Finance Ministry has issued a statement defending its move to levy 12 percent tax on sanitary pads. The statement claims that the current tax is lesser than the previous one which was 13.68 percent. According to the ministry, the GST on the tax to be paid by manufacturers for the raw materials used in sanitary pads is 18 percent of the 12 percent.
Since GST is still high on the raw materials to be used for the pad production, manufacturers still have to pay up a lot and therefore the 12 percent tax is reasonable claims the statement. Therefore reducing it to five percent would mean that manufacturers would suffer due to higher financing costs and reducing it to zero would completely deny domestic manufacturers any Input Tax Credit.
It is left to be seen whether or not, these explanations would be enough for the general public to accept the 12 percent tax. Or ont he other hand, having piles of pads on their front desk could make the ministry change their decision.