In a woman's world

The day after

In a woman's world

The new tax regime has been ushered in with much fanfare and we are now officially in the era of ‘one nation, one tax’. GST will make it’s presence felt on all sections and segments of society, though some will feel the impact a bit more than others. Women in the country, from the college student to the stay-at-home mother, fall in the latter category.

Feminine products of daily use have seen quite a few changes in the new tax structure and these have evoked mixed reactions among the targeted crowd.

“ There is no tax on products like fresh vegetables, meat, milk, wheat, rice, flour, salt and so on. This is a good thing and will definitely help in curbing my monthly food budget. Moreover frozen vegetables and meat are being taxed at 5% so it will encourage people to opt for the fresh variants which are healthier,” says Madhushri Verma, a budding chef.

“Buying branded clothes will be an expensive affair now as a tax of 12% will be imposed on clothes priced above Rs 1,000. Readymade apparel such as ‘salwars’, dresses, skirts, tops and jeans will also be more expensive and this will burn a hole in my pocket for sure because these clothes are not cheap in the first place. Even footwear priced above

Rs 500 is going to cost more as it comes in the tax bracket of 18%,” says Nithya S, lab demonstrator in a prominent college.

Coming to cosmetics, the basics will be cheaper while even a little bit of indulgence can be a pricey affair for women. “Products such as toothpaste, hair oil and soap will become cheaper and that is a welcome move which will benefit households. However items like shampoo, perfumes, deodorants and cosmetics are all set to become more expensive. For most urban women, these are somewhat indispensable and the benefits from the earlier reductions will most probably be offset by the increase in prices in these,” says Diksha Sharma, customer service manager.

What has caused many women to take to social media and other platforms to voice their outrage is the government’s decision to tax sanitary pads at 12%.

During the formulation of GST, it was declared that items of national importance, which are indispensable to a household, would be exempt from taxes.

Vermillion powder and sanitary products were two of the many items taken up for consideration.

And in a bizarre move, items like ‘sindoor’, bangles and ‘bindis’ were made tax-free while sanitary pads were granted a spot not even in the first but the second tax slab.

“They ignored the demands of millions of women. More than three-fourths of the girls in India resort to unhygienic options during menstruation as they can’t afford sanitary pads,” notes Madhushri.

There is a feeling that there should have been at least one woman in the GST council for the section to get some representation. Now what is that quote about delayed wisdom again?

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