The hashtag #lahukalagaan has taken the social media world by storm and for good. It is a part of a campaign by women’s rights organizations SheSays to make sanitary napkins easily accessible and tax-free.
If research is to be believed, out of the 497 million women who constitute India’s population, only 12% of women use sanitary napkins. The remaining 88% of Indian women resort to handcrafted alternatives like: old fabric, rags, sand, ash, wood shavings, newspapers, dried leaves, hay and plastic. Such shocking statistics led to the inception of this campaign, which has now prompted the initiation of a conversation which truly deserves attention.
About the campaign
To provide women across the country with easy access to sanitary napkins, SheSays sent a legal representation to over 15 government officials, including the Ministry of Public Health and Family Welfare, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, and the Ministry of Finance. Apart from getting sanitary napkins to become tax-free, the representation also demands that sanitary napkins fall under the Essential Commodities Act and vending machines that disperse inexpensive sanitary napkins be placed in more locations.
The campaign has gained so much momentum on Twitter that almost everybody is raising their voices against the issue and writing to the Finance Minister. 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.
People from the entertainment fraternity like Sorabh Pant, Kanan Gill, Karan Talwar among others, also supported the issue by tweeting about it. Anshula Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor’s sister also took to Twitter to speak about it. Arjun Kapoor tweeted to support his sister, tagging Arun Jaitley and pleading to stop applying taxes on basic necessities of women. Arjun had also mentioned once how empowering his sister is.
Why should you support it?
The idea behind the campaign is to capture the Finance Minister’s attention and take this endeavor forward. While the Delhi government has reduced the tax on sanitary pads to 5 percent from the earlier 12.5 percent in March, the tax on sanitary napkins is still 14 percent under the Goods and Services Tax system in other states. This thought-provoking campaign addresses an issue that can’t be ignored as a sanitary napkin is a necessity and not a luxury. In a country like ours, where there is so much stigma attached to the issue of menstruation, there needs to be this change to increase the sensitivity towards this topic. To pave our way towards a more healthy and hygienic India, the taxes on it need to be waived off.
So let’s keep the conversation going!