India scraps tax on sanitary pads in boost for girls' education

GST Council Meet Government Cuts GST Rate On 88 Items Makes Sanitary Napkins Tax-Free

Conceding a year-long demand, sanitary pads were on Saturday exempted from the goods and services tax as the GST Council reduced rates on an array of appliances and products of daily use.

Sanitary napkins were taxed 12 percent tax under the one-year-old GST regime, which attracted serious criticism from various quarters.

The GST Council was chaired by Piyush Goyal, the minister of railways, who is also handling the charge of finance ministry at the present due to the absence of finance minister Arun Jaitley, who recently went through a kidney transplant surgery. He said, lithium-ion batteries, vacuum cleaners, food grinders, mixers, storage water heaters, hair dryers, hand dryers, paint, varnishes, water cooler, milk cooler, ice cream coolers, perfumes, toilet sprays and toilet preparation have been brought to 18 from 28 per cent slab.

Other than sanitary napkins, rakhi too has been made GST free. Yet a few have raised questions about what the new rate will actually mean, and why the government had spent the past year arguing that a lower tax rate would be a bad thing. He said, 100 items will be impacted by today's decision.

Goyal asserted on the importance of reducing the tax on ethanol, as not only is it used for blending with petrol and diesel, it is also vital for the sugar industry, and will thus be very beneficial for the sugarcane farmers.

"The broad-level reductions could lead to lower tax collections for the next few months, but will lead to volume expansion which could more than make up for the reduction especially as we are headed towards the festive season", he said.

So far, businesses with turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore were permitted to file returns quarterly.

Sources, however, said the tax rate reduction is likely to cost around Rs 8,000-10,000 crore annually to the exchequer.

It was meant to unify India's economy into a single market, with four tax rates of 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent.

Editor of Mirror Now Faye D'Souza, who has been a notable voice on this issue, also posted a gleeful picture of herself on social media, clutching a pad that said, "Thank you FM & GST Council".

This quarterly filing provision would exclude small traders making only a B2C supply, and those making a "B2B + B2C" supply. Those yet to register under GST will be given extension till August 31 without late penalty.

Another significant decision the council made was regarding easing of return filing procedure by approving two new simplified forms called "Sugam" and "Sahaj", the minister said. With the stabilisation of revenue, the rate on many items were gradually reduced.

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