Ever since the Goods and Services Tax (GST) came into the picture, tax on something as basic and essential as sanitary napkin has been a topic of debate in our country. And rightly so.
As Akshay Kumar gears up and wears a sanitary pad in his upcoming flick Pad Man, it is Kajol's opinion on the tax levied on sanitary pads that will leave you scratching your heads.
Kajol, who attended an event after she was chosen the advocacy ambassador for Swachh Aadat Swachh Bharat initiative, found herself dodging several questions thrown at her during a media interaction.
On national anthem, this is what the actor had to say, "I cannot speak for the rest of the country, as for me, whenever I hear the national anthem, I automatically stand up." Her response to national anthem being played in movie theatre debate was met with applause.
Next, Kajol was asked about her opinion on the tax applied on sanitary pads. Kajol said, "I don't think I have the financial expertise to discuss the GST. I really don't." She went on to say, "I am an actor. Otherwise, I wouldn't be doing another job somewhere."
Fair response. We are still not sure why Karan Johar is asked on GDP growth or for that matter, actors questioned on the economy of the country.
However, what Kajol said next was a little off-putting, to say the least. She went on to justify the 12% tax on sanitary pads. "As far as women sanitary napkins are concerned, I think there's tax on milk, rice; it's not that they are tax-free. So that's really up to the government as to what they see fit and how they see fit to tax."
Fortunately, there are actors in our Bollywood who do not believe the same. Recently Twinkle Khanna was hailed for her response to the tax during a BBC interview. “For some strange reason, India has 12 per cent GST on sanitary pads. Which is shocking. Apparently, there are no taxes on brooms. I think they feel that women should keep their houses clean but it’s not as important to keep themselves clean.”
Sonam Kapoor shares similar thoughts. "Honestly nothing comes free of cost today but I don't think it (sanitary pads) should be taxed. It should be tax-free for sure. And it must be cheaper for sure."
But of course, Kajol is entitled to her own opinion.
But here’s a little lesson. According to Dasra, a strategic philanthropy foundation documenting the rights and welfare of women, 88% of menstruating women in India use home-grown alternatives such as old fabric, rags, sand, ash, wood shavings, newspapers, dried leaves, hay, and plastic because they can’t afford sanitary napkins.
Dear Kajol, sorry to say, but that’s one disappointing response.
You can watch her interaction here: