This article first appeared on http://www.feminisminindia.com. The link can be found here: https://feminisminindia.com/2017/05/23/gst-sanitary-napkins-sindoor/
Among these were sanitary towels, napkins and tampons. The tax rate on these goods would be 12% (this is the second lowest tax slab, the others being 5%, 18% and 28%). (https://www.scribd.com/document/348819852/GST-rates#download)
Superficially, this is an improvement since until now, sanitary napkins, which are considered a luxury item in India, were taxed 14.5%.
For comparison, the government has declared sindoor, bangles and bindis, which have no essential value, as tax-exempt. Also for reference, just some of the other items included in the same category as female hygiene products are drawing books, frozen meat products and cellphones.
Many of the currently available brands of sanitary napkin are made out of plastic, which is non bio-degradable. Burning such products creates harmful toxins in the air. Sanitary waste, therefore should be considered as medical waste, since it also includes blood. One way to dispose them is incineration. As part of the Swachh Bharat campaign, two such incinerators were installed in two hostels in New Delhi. However, the movement failed to spread across the nation. (http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chargesheet/why-we-need-a-proper-menstrual-waste-disposal-system/)
Feminism in India, along with Eco Femme, Uger Pads, SHE Cup, Boondh, Shomota and Saathi launched #ThePadEffect campaign to address this issue. This movement sought to create awareness about the harmful effects of sanitary waste on the environment, and also provided information about the various eco-friendly alternatives that are available in the market. (https://feminisminindia.com/2017/05/16/infographic-what-thepadeffect/the-pad-effect-infographic/). This campaign will be culminated on May 28, which is celebrated internationally as Menstrual Hygiene Day.