Published: Mon, July 23, 2018
Money | By Michele Stevens

GST council meet: Sanitary napkins exempted from GST

GST council meet: Sanitary napkins exempted from GST

In terms of tax returns, Sisodia said quarterly returns for traders having turnover up to Rs 5 crore have been approved by the GST Council. The items which could be considered for cutting of tax rates might include sanitary napkins, handicrafts and handloom goods.

Despite this, Jaitley's successor in the finance ministry, Piyush Goyal, has gone ahead and done just that.

Bollywood's first film on menstrual hygiene "Padman", starring Akshay Kumar - one of Hindi cinema's most popular action heroes - triggered debate over the taboo subject of menstrual hygiene in India after its release earlier this year.

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Sanitary pads, which were initially taxed at 18 per cent, were brought down to 12 per cent under GST that was launched in July 2017. This would mean there would be no input tax credit available, even though inputs in the production of sanitary napkins are taxed. The new prices will be effective from July 27. They are often forced to stay at home due to a lack of access to clean hygiene products, while also facing stigma.

While hotels with tariff below Rs 1,000 are exempted from GST, those with tariff between Rs 1,000-2,500 are taxed at 12 per cent, those between Rs 2,500-7,500 at 18 per cent, and above Rs 7,500 at 28 per cent.

The drop in prices is so negligible that it would hardly make any difference for women who stay away from sanitary products due to their costs.

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Also idols made of stone, marble, wood, rakhi not embedded with stone, phool jhadu, sal leaves, too have been exempted.

Chartered Accountant Nitesh Jain summarised Saturday's announcements by the Council as efforts to simplify the system, remove as many items from the tax slab of 28 per cent and ease compliance.

While most organisations and people - including 12 percent-is-alright Maneka Gandhi - welcomed the move, some saw it for what it really was: a belated realisation that our menstrual cycles are far from a luxury. According to The Times of India, students of a Girls' college in Bengaluru took out a rally holding placards saying "Don't tax my period". Footwear costing up to Rs 1,000 will now attract 5 per cent GST.

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The GST charged for commodities such as lithium-ion batteries, vacuum cleaners, food grinders, mixers, storage water heaters, head dryers, hand dryers, paint, varnishes, water cooler, milk cooler, ice cream coolers, perfumes, toilet sprays and other toiletries has been slashed from 28 per cent to 18 per cent.

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