India has done away with a ridiculous 12 percent tax on sanitary pads, which activists say will hopefully result in more girls getting to go to school instead of being forced to stay home due to lack of access to feminine hygiene products.
According to CNN, the pad tax was added last year as part of the country’s newly implemented goods and services tax, which aimed to bring India’s 29 states under a single unified system. Items like contraceptives were exempt, but pads, for some reason, have been taxed at an insane 12 percent since last July. That exorbitant rate was one of the top factors that led girls to drop out of school, since estimates show that four out of five women and girls couldn’t access feminine hygiene products.
“I am sure all mothers and sisters will be very happy to hear that sanitary pads are now 100 per cent exempt from tax,” interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said.
Naturally, the tax wasn’t abandoned on its own—it was the result of a long fight by Indian lawmaker Sushmita Dev, who started a petition to get rid of it that ultimately received more than 400,000 signatures. She thanked her supporters in a tweet on Saturday, but also chided the government for taking a friggin’ year to remove the tax.
“Clearly the government had put forth frivolous arguments for one year and delayed it,” she wrote.
Among the other items now exempted from the tax are fortified baby milk, and taxes on goods like “paints, leather goods, bamboo flooring, stoves, televisions and washing machines,” were lowered from 28 percent to mostly 18 percent, Reuters reports.