Social workers in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh kicked off a campaign that encourages women to pen their views on menstrual hygiene on sanitary napkins. The move is regarded as a mark of protest against napkins being placed under 12% Goods and Services Tax. As many as 1,000 signed sanitary pads have been sent to Narendra Modi as part of the initiative, requesting the Prime Minister to do away with the GST levied on the product.
Speaking to a news agency, Preeti Joshi, one of the founders of the social group, said that several women in the rural parts of the country cannot spend Rs 100 on sanitary napkins. "This situation discourages them from using sanitary napkins all the more. They end up falling prey to diseases. We hope that the women at least receive a GST-free napkin," she added.
The news comes a week after Padman actor Akshay Kumar voiced his opinion that women should have free access to sanitary napkins as it is a basic necessity. Speaking to the media, Akki said "Why just cut down on GST? I think women should have free access to sanitary napkins. This is their basic necessity. It is about menstrual hygiene and not luxury."
The campaign in Gwalior began on Tuesday after Bhopal became the first city in India to have a vending machine for sanitary pads. The news was tweeted by both railway minister Piyush Goyal and Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, who is starring in Padman.
Padman is a film fictionally based on a Coimbatore-based social activist who changed the concept of menstrual hygiene in rural India by building a machine to create low-cost sanitary napkins.