On International Women’s Day, Delhi government announced in its budget on Wednesday that tax on sanitary pads costing above Rs 20 will be cut to 5% from the existing rate of 12.5%.
Finance minister Manish Sisodia also announced that budget allocation for Delhi Commission for Women, headed by Swati Maliwal, has gone up by three times from last year. “Budget for Delhi Commission for Women increased by three times to Rs 20 crore,” Sisodia said in his budget speech.
Female students from classes 9 to 12 will also get midday meals from this academic year, announced Sisodia. Till now students both male and female students were served midday meals till class 8 only.
Commenting on government’s move to decrease the tax on sanitary napkins and increasing the allocation for the DCW, academician and gender right activist Ranjana Kumari said the move is welcome but a lot more needs to be done to ensure equal participation of women in all fields.
“It is a good development and I welcome it. But these decisions will impact the issues on the periphery. They are also important. However, the government needs to take steps for equal participation of women in every field. They need to focus on girl education as so many females are still out of education system,” said Kumari.
Speaking to reporters after Sisodia presented the budget, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “Tax on sanitary napkins for women has been reduced.”
Delhi government already runs Kishori Yojana — a scheme to provide sanitary napkins to over seven lakh girls enrolled in its schools from classes VI to XII.
“Reducing the price of sanitary napkins will make it more accessible even to girls from the poorer section of the society. Price is the only factor that keeps girls away from sanitary napkins. Otherwise, why would anyone want to use cloth or anything else?” said Dr JP Kapoor, director of Delhi’s family welfare department.