Why Bhutan’s ‘Blood Tax‘ Needs To Be Scrapped

Bhutan’s regressive taxation of women’s sanitary products needs to go

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December 26, 2018

The following is an excerpt from an op-ed written by Asia 21 Young Leader Namgay Zam ('18) for The Diplomat on December 26, 2018. 

I would have never discovered that sanitary pads and tampons get taxed quite heavily in Bhutan had India not scrapped its 12 percent goods and services tax (GST) on sanitary pads in July this year. India isn’t the only one; Australia will stop taxing tampons, pads and other feminine hygiene products beginning January 2019. There are other countries that have done this as well over the last several years due to gender equality and economic pressure.

Bhutan levies a 5 percent sales tax on sanitary pads imported from India, and a 30 percent import duty plus 5 percent sales tax on sanitary pads and tampons imported from other countries (mostly from Thailand and countries that Bhutan does not have a Free Trade Agreement with). I buy both tampons and sanitary napkins. I usually buy sanitary napkins from India so I am paying the maximum retail price (MRP), but my tampons are expensive.

Read the full article here