Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur today welcomed the GST Council's decision to cut tax rates on 88 items and exempt sanitary napkins from the levy, saying it would provide a much-needed relief to the middle class and benefit women's health and hygiene. The GST Council on Saturday cut tax rates on 88 items, including footwear, refrigerator, washing machine and small screen TV. Sanitary napkins, which attract 12 per cent tax, and fortified milk, which was taxed at 18 per cent, have been exempt from the new indirect tax. Thakur also said that the decision to allowed businesses with turn over of up to Rs 5 crore to file quarterly returns have relieved small businesses from the pressure of filing so many returns. The GST council also allowed businesses with turn over of up to Rs 5 crore to file quarterly returns - a move which will benefit 93 per cent of the GST registered taxpayers. They will have to, however, pay taxes monthly. So far, businesses with turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore were permitted to file returns quarterly. About 75 to 80 per cent businessmen in the state run small businesses and they would be immensely benefitted from this decision of the Centre, the chief minister was quoted as saying in a release. Thakur also said the decision to reduce GST rates on washing machines, refrigerators mixers, footwear and other items would also provide much-needed relief to the middle class and exempting sanitary napkins from the indirect tax would have a positive effect on the health and hygiene of women.