After year-long protest, sanitary napkins exempted from GST

• In a major relief to women, the GST Council decided to exempt sanitary napkins from the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax. “Sanitary napkins will be exempted from Goods & Services Tax,” said Finance Minister Piyush Goyal while addressing a press conference in Delhi following 28th meeting of GST Council.

• Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also said that many items under the 28 per cent slab have been removed. “I think the 28 per cent tax slab should be done away with. The issue is being unnecessarily dragged,” said Sisodia, who also handles the Finance portfolio as well.

• The demand to exclude sanitary napkin from the GST has been going on for a long time. To drive the point home, a group of students from Gwalior launched a campaign in January this year. The students sent sanitary napkins with the message written on them to Prime Minister Modi and urged him to exempt the taxes levied on the product and make it free of cost.

• Apart from sanitary napkins, the GST Council also declared stone/marble/wood idols, rakhis, sal leaves, phulbhari jhadu to be exempted from GST. There will also be a rate cute from 28 per cent to 18 per cent on items such as lithium-ion batteries, vacuum cleaners, domestic electrical appliances, paints and varnishes, water coolers, articles such as scents, perfumes, cosmetics. The GST rate cuts announced today will be effective from July 27.

• Talking about tax returns, Sisodia said the GST Council also approved the quarterly returns for traders having turnover up to Rs 5 crore.

• Finance Minister Piyush Goyal chaired the meeting of the Goods and Services Tax Council on Saturday, for the first time since taking charge of this portfolio. The proposed amendments to the goods and services tax (GST)-related laws, simplification of GST returns, the creation of GST appellate tribunal and the revenue position of states were among the key items slated for discussion in the 28th GST Council meeting.

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