GST on Sanitary Napkins: HC Tells Maharashtra To Cut Costs, Raise Awareness

A PIL brought to light the issue that around 88% women do not have access to sanitary pads due to lack of awareness and high costs

The Bombay High Court has asked the Maharashtra government to reconsider the existing costs of sanitary napkins and make them available at subsidised rates to women.

This request comes after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by the Shetty Women Welfare Foundation, which is an NGO registered in Mumbai.

The PIL brought to light the issue that around 88% women do not have access to sanitary pads due to lack of awareness and high costs, and also challenged the Centre’s 12% GST on these essential goods.

A division bench of justice Naresh Patil and justice Nitin heard this PIL.

“This is an important issue, and it affects half the population. What has the Maharashtra government done to increase and spread awareness about the use of sanitary napkins?” asked Justice Patil.

“The state government also needs to consider cutting down the cost of these napkins and make them available at a subsidised rate,” he said.

Representative image of an Indian woman. Source: Wikipedia

The bench suggested that the state government use a price control mechanism, similar to the one which is used for essential drugs. It has also given two weeks to the principal secretaries of the concerned departments to suggest a mechanism to increase awareness about the use of sanitary pads and also make them available at concessional rates.

Here are some organizations in Maharashtra that provide sanitary pads at low rates, and those who manufacture eco-friendly, reusable pads across India.

Washable and reusable sanitary pads. Source: EcoFemme

Lawyers of the petitioner body informed the court that the Maharashtra government has already initiated a project which provides sanitary pads at subsidised rates in eight districts in Maharashtra.

The project was implemented primarily in tribal districts, through an NGO. The petitioner body added that it could be expanded to other districts of Maharashtra as well.

You may also like: Rural Women in Uttarakhand Believed Menstruation Was God’s Curse. Till an Engineer Broke the Taboo

Meanwhile, here are some NGOs and individuals who are working at grassroots levels to spread awareness about menstruation and providing rural women with menstrual supplies.

Since the GST is an issue concerning the Centre, the court has asked for the assistance of Anil C Singh, who is the Additional Solicitor-General of India.

Featured image sources: Wikimedia Commons/ Wikipedia

Like this story? Or have something to share?
Write to us:
Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
NEW: Click here to get positive news on WhatsApp!

Deep Dive

The Better Mentor

See All

We at The Better India want to showcase everything that is working in this country. By using the power of constructive journalism, we want to change India – one story at a time. If you read us, like us and want this positive movement to grow, then do consider supporting us via the following buttons.

Please read these FAQs before contributing.

Let us know how you felt

  • love
  • like
  • inspired
  • support
  • appreciate