Girls in Delhi will now have greater access to sanitary pads. Taking a major step towards improving hygiene and sanitation among girls and women, the Delhi High Court on Monday (July 17) issued a notice to the Delhi government and all Municipal Corporations of the capital city to provide sanitary pads at no or subsidized rates.

The HC has also directed the authorities to include education on menstrual hygiene for schoolgirls in the syllabus. While the order was issued on July 17, the final green signal will be given in the next hearing on November 7, according to an ANI report.

Following the recent implementation of the GST, there has been much protest over levying the tax on sanitary products as they are essential items, not a luxury. When earlier the tax in some states on sanitary napkins was as high as 13.7%, now with the uniform Goods and Services Tax, it is being charged at 12%.

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However, the tax is still being considered high by the masses who believe that since it is an essential it shouldn’t be taxed at a high rate, but should be tax-free instead. Women’s groups like the Student Federation of India and All India Democratic Women’s Association sent sanitary napkins in hundreds to the finance minister with tagline—bleed without fear, bleed without tax—written on it.

Apart from this, protests like #LahuKaLagaan went viral on social media when the tax brackets were announced by the finance ministry.

With the Delhi HC ruling on the matter, it is interesting to see what this does to improve menstrual hygiene among Delhi girls. And this is just the initiative that needs to be replicated in the interiors of the country as well.

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