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DCW seeks report on condom supply to red light area

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New Delhi: Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal on Thursday sought a detailed report from the Delhi State Aids Control Society within a week on the current status of supply of condoms to GB Road – a red light area here – an official said.

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zeenews.india.com

In a letter to Delhi State Aids Control Society (DSACS) director Mrinalini Darswal, Maliwal wrote: “During my visit to GB Road, I have discovered that the sex workers have not been receiving condoms from DSACS for the past several months and are forced to purchase them.”
“Please submit a detailed report on the current status of supply of condoms to GB Road by DSACS and reasons for non-supply of condoms for the past several months, within one week of receipt of this letter,” she wrote. Maliwal on Thursday visited GB Road in central Delhi for the second time. She earlier visited the area a few days back after being appointed the DCW chief.

(IANS)

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Taxing Menstruation? GST Denies Sanitary Napkins as Essential Commodity

GST has definitely marked a cornerstone in the Indian economy, however, it has failed to recognise the basic need of a woman

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Most store owners in this market say they are unprepared for the switch to the Goods and Services Tax that will unify India into a single market because they do not have computers or internet connections. VOA

– By Naina Mishra

July 3, 2017: The revised GST rate list has yet again proved to be patricentric and ignored the natural process that leads to motherhood – “Menstruation”. With levying 12% tax on sanitary napkins, it evinced that menstrual hygiene of the 355 million women is still not the concern of the policymakers. What’s intimidating is the depiction of an Indian Woman in the society. Exemption of kumkum, sindoor, bindis, alta and bangles from tax exemplifies a picture of the ideal Indian woman as a visibly married Hindu woman in India.

In India, Menstrual hygiene still remains to be the most challenging developmental issues today. Regarded as a deep taboo, menstruation is a crafted illusion of myths and misinformation and thus inherently judged as shameful, gross and weird. Women and girls often times lack access to hygienic sanitary materials necessary for good menstrual hygiene. It is estimated that over 20 percent of girls drop out of school completely after reaching puberty.

Indirect taxation is classified into essential and luxury goods, and labeling sanitary pads as the luxury item, not admitting its essential attribute in myriads of women’s life is another critique of the revised GST rate list. The arguments on taxing sanitary pads keep on mounting that the product was not inborn or domesticated in India. Cotton rags conversely can be used as an alternative if used with discretion and washed properly. However, such basis cannot deny the access to basic menstrual sanitation facility to the women.

ALSO READ: Hindu Temple Kamakhya questions the Dominant Religious Legacies against Menstrual Blood

A study by AC Nielsen titled, “sanitary Protection reveals only 12 % of India’s 355 million women use sanitary napkins. Over 88% of women resort to unsafe alternatives like un-sanitized cloth, ashes and husk sand. Incidents of Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI) are 70% more prevalent among these women. The biggest challenge to using a Sanitary Napkins in India is the affordability owing to which 88% of women use old fabric, rags or sand to manage their menstrual flow.

Lately, Delhi Commission of Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal wrote to the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley: “The better half of our population has been bestowed with the gift of motherhood and in this process, all females from the tender age of 10-12 years till 45-50 years face monthly menstruation. Since menstruation is a natural phenomenon, hygiene, and proper health during this period is a natural fundamental right of each female citizen of this country. However, sanitary napkins which are critical for the health and hygiene of millions of women are presently taxed.”

Not only this, there have been similar attempts in the past by Sushmita Dev, Member of Parliament, who launched a petition to  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for removal of tax on sanitary napkins.

Sushmita Dev with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley concerning petition

The highlights of the petition were affordability, accessibility, and availability of sanitary napkins to the Indian women. The petition deemed the tax unfair because of the underlying fact –  women being taxed 12 months a year, for about 39 years on a process they have no control over. The petition gained three lakh supporters in its due course.

The petition was also signed by Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development.

Maneka Gandhi supporting the Tax free wings petition

She stated, “I strongly believe a tax exemption for sanitary pads will also bolster the Honourable Prime Minister’s “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” and “Swachh Bharat” initiatives. This will also encourage more girls to continue their school education and more women to participate in the workforce.”


– by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter: @Nainamishr94

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Martyr’s daughter withdraws from campaign; college backs her

Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur withdraws her campaign against the violence at Ramjas college after being subjected to mass threats allegedly by ABVP

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Gurmehar Kaur, wikimedia commons

New Delhi, February 28: Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur withdrew from her social media campaign against the ABVP today after allegedly becoming the recipient of a number of threats from the members of the RSS-backed outfit and being badly trolled by the ruling BJP leaders.

Kaur, who is the daughter of martyr Captain Mandeep Singh, has received a lot of support from her college – the Lady Shri Ram college and her act has been termed as sensible and brave by her peers and superiors.

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In to her recent tweet, Kaur said, “I’m withdrawing from the campaign. Congratulations everyone. I request to be left alone. I said what I had to say… One thing is for sure, next time we will think twice before resorting to violence or threats and that’s all this was about.”

Kaur has also mentioned that she has been through a lot, and “this is all my 20 year self could take”.

According to PTI reports, After her withdrawal from the campaign, the DU student will not take part in any activity against ABVP members. She will also not attend a march being conducted by a group of students at the Delhi University today.

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“The campaign is about students and not about me. Please go to the march in huge numbers. Best of luck… To anyone questioning my courage and bravery.. I’ve shown more than enough,” Kaur has stated in a series of tweets.

The Lady Sri Ram college has supported Kaur saying that she is entitled to the right to express her opinion, just like everyone else.

In an official statement the college has said, “We support our student as duty of institutions is to nurture students without fear. Gurmehar has right to express her opinion and she responded sensitively, bravely. She has fulfilled her duty as a young citizen.”

Following the violent events at Ramjas college, The 20-year-old had started the campaign ‘I am not afraid of ABVP’. The campaign went viral and managed to receive a massive support from students of various universities from all over India.

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Yesterday, She had met Swati Maliwal, chief of Delhi Commission for Women and mentioned that she has been receiving a torrent of “rape threats” on social media, allegedly by ABVP members.

Terming the threats as “shameful”, Maliwal has also written to Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik with a demand that an FIR be lodged against the “abusers” and security be provided to the student and her family. Currently, Kaur and her family are being provided protection by DCW Home Guards.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

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JNU reacts to report on sexual harassment cases

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New Delhi: The Delhi Commission for Women has released a reported report on 26 November which stated that the highest number of sexual harassment cases have been reported from Jawaharlal Nehru University.

JNU reacted to this report and attributed it to more sensitization in the varsity. Students are more aware and not afraid to report any kind of wrong behavior.

The university credited the committee for the increased sensitization. JNU has a committee named ‘Gender Sensitization Committee against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH)’ which is known for working in a fair, neutral and confidential manner.

A member of the GSCASH told The Hindu that the highest number of reported cases shows the extent of sensitization and response from the university. The report also has said that all the 51 cases were addressed.

The Delhi University’s reluctance to provide data has raised quite a few eyebrows as the varsity with lesser restrictions is more prone to untoward incidents.

In JNU, the sensitization has worked because students expressed solidarity with it. Moreover, a bulk on JNU students is mature as they are from the post-graduate courses. Other colleges and varsities mostly have undergraduate students.

While Delhi has been branded as unsafe for women but one has to admit that the perception about its universities has been good. Parents do not generally stop their children from going to Delhi for the purpose of education.

Though there are justifications behind JNU’s reaction to the report, but one expects that the number of cases on sexual harassment should go down considerably for proper implementation of the sensitization program.