Congress MP’s petition on making sanitary pads tax-free draws support

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New Delhi, March 25 (IANS) A petition launched by Congress MP Sushmita Dev asking for taxes on sanitary pads to be removed has received support from several Members of Parliament.

On February 25, Sushmita Dev had written a letter to the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley requesting for the tax on sanitary pads to be done away with.

She also started a petition on the online platform for social change — change.org to seek public support for the cause on the occasion of International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8.

As many as 2,04,518 people from across the country have come in support of the petition started on the website, according to a release issued by change.org on Saturday.

Alongside massive public support for her petition, Sushmita Dev has received twitter endorsements and letters of support from parliamentarians cutting across party lines.

Bharatiya Janata Party MP Varun Gandhi had called this petition a “noble initiative” on twitter and called for “bipartisan support” for Sushmita Dev’s petition on March 8.

In his endorsement tweet, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Baijayant Panda raised the question of contraceptives being tax free while sanitary pads are not and calls for more support on the petition.

Taxes on sanitary products can vary from state to state but they are usually between 12 and 14 per cent.

Dev’s petition addressed to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi and Health Minister J.P. Nadda, calls for the GST Bill to abolish taxes on sanitary pads.

The petition also advocates for biodegradable and reusable ones by seeking a 100 per cent tax exemption for environment and health friendly pads, and a minimal tax for non-biodegradable sanitary pads.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi in a tweet on Women’s day said: “Take a step to change the lives of millions of women this Women’s Day. I signed this petition, so should you, because Indian women deserve better.”

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on March 22 wrote a letter to Arun Jaitley asking him to look into Dev’s request.

“I write to lend my support to my Lok Sabha colleague Sushmita Dev’s representation to you concerning the unfair bracketing of sanitary napkins for tax purposes as a ‘luxury product’,” Tharoor said in his letter.

While Congress MP Supriya Sule in her endorsement said: “Let us appeal government of India to reduce/abolish the tax on sanitary napkins.

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MP Kavitha Kalvakuntla extended her full support to the initiative of her fellow Member of Parliament.

Congress politicians who have supported Sushmita Dev’s campaign include Salman Khurshid, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Rajiv Satav, Partap Singh Bajwa and Ninong Ering who have tweeted in support of the campaign #TaxFreeWings.

Sushmita Dev has now written separate letters to Union Ministers Maneka Gandhi and J.P. Nadda, Minister of State for Health Anupriya Singh Patel and the Health Minister of Assam seeking action.

–IANS

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