Raging mind? Check. Sarcasm enzymes? Activated. 15 minutes free? Check.
It has just been limitlessly spoken and talked about but I have a voice and imma gonna use it. Now, as far as goods and services tax (GST) goes, I sincerely believe that the “one nation, one tax” regime may benefit India over the long haul.
There are a lot of questions doing the rounds about the GST rate on sanitary napkins fixed at 12% which tumbled from the 13.7% before. Because, that makes so much difference for 355 million menstruating women in India who’ve no access to sanitary pads whatsoever, the main driver of approximately 70 percent of all reproductive diseases in India.
Can I casually blame GST Council for not having a single woman in the 31-member? Duh! Women always fail to make the cut.
Menstrual hygiene management is a major issue which lacks the consideration it merits. Be that as it may, is zero rating sanitary napkins the correct answer? Can there be some impartial and informed discussion on this critical issue, please?
It would be unreasonable to discuss Bindi, Bangles, and sindoor in the 0 percent slab as they are produced in the unorganized sector/ the cottage industry.
The press release by the government claims that the GST rate at 12% is absolutely justified. The same press note claims that some of the “major raw materials” used to manufacture sanitary napkins already attract high GST. The raw material used for the manufacture of sanitary napkins attract GST of 12% and 18%. This means that the manufacturers pay more GST than they collect from customers. This implies the producers pay more GST than they gather from clients. So the distinction meets all requirements for a discount.
So while on the face of it may sound perfect but the problem is: the GST rates of raw material that have increased and is just around 20% of the aggregate cost.
However, about 80% of the total cost of a sanitary napkin is cotton. The tax rate on which is 5% even under GST. So the government’s argument around “an inversion in the GST structure” may not hold water…..Are you with me?
Now, reducing the GST rate on sanitary napkins to nil may not work. However, a lot of medical products have now been exempt of tax or have a lower tax incidence. Sanitary napkins are still classified under miscellaneous products and a discrete argument always needs to be made because of this classification.
However, if we can reduce the tax slab of pads from the current 12% to 5% makers can get input impose credit which may help in lessening in costs.
In the event that it comes down to 5% producers can profit enter credit tax and the price tag can be low. Obviously, it is up to the maker if they would want to pass the benefit to the customers or not. In any case, in this aggressive market regardless of whether one producer chooses to pass on the advantage to the purchasers the rest should take after at last cutting down the cost.
What happens in the case of lower-priced locally manufactured ones? Assume a pack of 10 napkins costs Rs 50 without tax. A 12 percent GST takes the price to Rs 56. Is this a price difference that will influence buying behavior?
Even slight changes like 4–5% does impact the lower income segments.
There is a simple arrangement, if anybody from the administration is tuning in. Differential tax rates on the bundles. So the GST rate on a pack of 10 sanitary napkins may differ depending on the price. So perhaps if the cost is Rs 100, GST could be 5%, if the cost is Rs 500 then GST could be 18%. The administration has effectively done this in a few classes. Footwear being a prime case: where GST on below Rs 1,000 chappal and others is diverse.
The vast majority of the sanitary napkins purchased in country are by urban or semi-urban segment which leaves women in other ahead experience undignified menstrual hygiene.
I’m almost certain that women don’t choose to menstruate, nor do they choose to have a crime scene in their pants for 35 years of their life. Is it accurate to say that we are missing something here? Isn’t this socially and economically unreasonable?
I certainly believe that sanitary products should be reclassified as essential health care items and be accessible to women all around surpassing the technicalities and economics. The question one might need to ask is: regardless of whether we need this to proceed or we need our women to have access to menstrual hygiene management.
Originally published at femonomic.com on February 7, 2018.