The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notices to the Delhi government and the Centre after a petition asked for the 12% Goods and Services Tax on sanitary napkins to be dropped or reduced.
Activists have criticised the government for taxing sanitary napkins under the GST, pointing out that they are a necessity for nearly half the population, and not a luxury product.
Advocate Setu Niket, who filed the petition, also said that many Indian girls drop out of school after they start menstruating because they know so little about it, and that the governments had not done enough to educate them. The petition added that the governments should provide girls with free sanitary pads. The court asked both the governments to submit a status report on any schemes they have implemented to educate girls about menstruation.
The next hearing has been scheduled for November 7.
GST on sanitary pads
Sanitary pads were placed in the 12% tax slab when the GST was implemented on July 1, though several other products such as sindoor and bangles were declared tax-free. Many items considered household necessities were placed in the 5% slab.
Soon after, an NGO had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court asking for the GST on sanitary napkins to be dropped. The Shetty Women’s Welfare Foundation had pointed out that only 12% of menstruating women in India could afford sanitary napkins.
On July 10, the Ministry of Finance had put out a statement saying the tax on sanitary napkins under the GST was less than what it was before. The ministry said the napkins were taxed a total of 13.68% before the GST was implemented because a concessional excise duty and VAT was levied on them.
Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest
Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.
Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.
The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.
Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.
His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.
Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”
At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.
It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!
Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.
Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.
Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.