Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi on Wednesday said that 12 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) imposed on sanitary napkins is acceptable."It has come down from 18 per cent... At the moment, market is dominated by multinational companies. So, what has happened is that this 12 per cent would apply to even the multinationals, unless the whole market is swapped... This kills the indigenous pads," the Minister said while addressing a press conference.Earlier, Gandhi had written to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asking him to provide 100 per cent tax exemption for eco-friendly and bio-degradable sanitary napkins under the GST.The Minister said it was the first time that the ministry was working to provide sanitary napkins via other channels and encourage self-help groups (SHGs) to start making pads, like NGO Goonj, which had been making pads under a budget of Rs 20 lakh which was exempted from the GST.
"If we decide on a policy of loan system, then we will have lots of SHGs coming up, who will make pads and spread it in a completely localised manner rather than having some distant MNC come here," she stated.Gandhi informed that the ministry was in talks with the Niti Ayog, HRD Ministry and Health Ministry to take decisions on providing sanitary napkins in schools, extending help to NGOs and providing disposal machines for pads."Disposal of sanitary napkins is a worry, but we will soon reach a solution. We will have to take policies and decisions on it. I will be calling a meeting where we should be able to together take a decision," she added.