Akshay Kumar and Sonam Kapoor in Padman Image: Twitter
Akshay Kumar's Padman is about to put this country in quite a fix — an entire nation roused by the need for clean hygiene cannot afford it, cuz umm... GST. Under 'One Nation, One Tax,' a 12% GST has been imposed on sanitary napkins. Fun fact: 12% is also the GST levied on the food bill in non-AC restaurants. Bleeding for five days = mid-afternoon chinese cravings, amirite?
Recently, Gwalior students launched a campaign where they are scrawling messages on sanitary napkins, and are collecting 1,000 such pads to send over to the Prime Minister — to urge him to rethink the 12% GST on sanitary napkins. But can you really negotiate with a system that eyes menstruation as a lifestyle choice. Think about it — custard powder, wigs, nail polish and sanitary pads — in the same category. Sindoor, condoms, bangles are tax-free. Get Padman a calculator, cuz, this s**t is crazy.
Let's get real — Padman can ony fix so much. It doesn't matter if establishment's favourite poster boy and his wife publically advocate tax free sanitary pads (for promotions, obviously), the Indian woman still has to fork over a 100 bucks for her biological cycle.
Gwalior students write letters on sanitary napkins to the PM asking him to remove the basic women’s necessity from the “luxury items” GST slab. Innovative stuff. Hundreds such letters will be reaching ministers and the PM.— Saipriya S (@ChaaiPiya) 11 January 2018
Interestingly, and ironically, Bhopal Junction just became India's first railway station to install a sanitary napkin vending machine. It's called Happy Nari, and it propogates the much-advertised notion that sanitary napkins somehow make women cheerful enough to dance in the middle of the roads on the second day of their periods.
But the Happy Nari vending machine is not without its uses. It dispenses two sanitary pads at Rs 5. But as novel as the idea is, a 'vending' machine for a sanitary napkin hardly helps the cause. Because sanitary pads cannot be commercialised like tea, coffee or condoms — a craving for chai and sex can (most of the times, at least) be mitigated. Also, cuz, there is a craving involved.