Feminine hygiene now tax-free in India; sanitary napkins out of GST net

India scrapped a controversial tax on sanitary pads on Saturday

The Council has also chose to fully exempt sanitary napkins from GST, from the existing 12 percent.

Sanitary napkins will be exempt from GST, Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said on Saturday after a meeting of the GST Council.

Apart from sanitary napkins and rachis, there will be no GST on stone, marble, wooden deities, sal leaves, etc.

These items include refrigerators, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, paints, storage water heaters, food grinders, mixers and television sets up to 27 inches. "Besides revenue collection, the GST council will now focus on job creation as well".

The finance minister also said the GST Council has made a decision to focus on issues concerning the broader economy such as job creation rather than only on revenue targeting.

In the run up to the general elections next year, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council comprising the Centre and states on Saturday brought relief to the middle class consumers by reducing the rates on more than 50 goods and more than 100 items if concessions on certain services are also included.

The value limit of footwear was enhanced from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 for 5 percent rate, Goyal informed. As per reports, in January a group of students had written notes to PM Modi on sanitary pads and had sought an exemption from GST.

They are now taxed at 28 per cent.

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The tax on handbags, jewellery boxes, wooden boxes for paintings, glass artware, ornamental framed mirrors and handmade lamps, among other things, have been reduced to 12%.

So far, businesses with turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore were permitted to file returns quarterly.

A new set of simpler return filing forms - Sahaj and Sugam - are also in the works that would be finalised soon, Goyal said.

On being asked about the revenue loss from these rate cuts, Goyal said that with simplification of processes, compliance will improve which will in turn boost revenue.

The Council has also chose to defer implementation of reverse charge mechanism (RCM) by a year to 30 September, 2019.

The next meeting of the Council is slated on 4 August, which will discuss issues relating to the MSME sector as well as ways to incentivise digital transaction via Rupay cards and BHIM app.

However, it often happened that hotels offered discounts and hence the actual transaction cost would be much lower than the declared cost, but tax would still be charged at the declared cost.

Given below is a list of revised GST rates.

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