Exempt higher education institutions from GST

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | RALPH ALEX ARAKAL
Published Aug 17, 2017, 6:25 am IST
Updated Aug 17, 2017, 6:25 am IST
According to EPSI, the fact that the problem would have equal impact on HEIs and varsities.
The decision of the finance ministry to tax outsourced services in HIEs according to the GST scheme is in turn forcing the managements to implement a hike in the fee structure (Representational Image)
 The decision of the finance ministry to tax outsourced services in HIEs according to the GST scheme is in turn forcing the managements to implement a hike in the fee structure (Representational Image)

Bengaluru: Calling out to stakeholders of higher education institutions across the country, a group of like-minded people led by the members of the management of a leading educational group from the city have decided to launch a campaign seeking the government’s attention to auxiliary services being taxed at Higher Educational Institutions (HIEs), between 5, 12, or 28% towards operational, developmental and maintenance costs.

As auxiliary services including catering, housekeeping, transportation for students and faculty and even costs in the light of development fees, and costs for arranging examinations and such were exempted from the tax regime, when HIEs were brought under the tax regime in 2014, institutions are now urging the Central government to continue that, even after the rollout of Goods and Services Tax.

 

“The decision of the finance ministry to tax outsourced services in HIEs according to the GST scheme is in turn forcing the managements to implement a hike in the fee structure to neutralize the extra expenditure that comes upon them,” said  Kritika Padode, Member of Centre for Developmental Education, IFIM Institutions, who is spearheading the campaign.

Earlier in June, Education Promotion Society of India (EPSI), a nodal agency which represents more than 3,500 private colleges in the country, had taken a delegation of chancellors, vice-chancellors and educationalists to the Union Finance Ministry demanding the same. According to EPSI, the fact that the problem would have equal impact on HEIs and varsities (both private and public) was emphasized then which led to ministers Arun Jaitley and Santosh Gangwar assuring a sympathetic consideration to the demand.

“Two months down the line, there has not been any response to this which led to such an online campaign stemming out,” asserted Ms Padode. Emphasising on the importance of the government acknowledging the demands, she added that HIEs (including those run by the government) would otherwise be forced to compromise on the quality of educational infrastructure and facilities provided to cope with the budget, which would have a serious impact reflecting on the quality of students graduating into the industry.

T.V. Mohandas Pai, Chairman, Manipal Global Education, ascertained that the government should keep their promise of not bringing education and health sectors under the tax scanner. 

“It is high time that the government realise that educational institutions, be it schools or HIEs come under the same social sector and is not a business. When schools were considered and exempted, the government had to give the same consideration to HIEs as well, which would have avoided such a situation,” he said.

The petitioners are at the moment planning to file a Public Interest Litigation on behalf of all HIEs, students and parents across the country and have submitted an open letter to the authorities concerned.

Team met Finance minister in June
Earlier in June, Education Promotion Society of India (EPSI), a nodal agency which represents more than 3,500 private colleges in the country, had taken a delegation of chancellors, vice-chancellors and educationalists to the Union Finance Ministry demanding the same. According to EPSI, the fact that the problem would have equal impact on HEIs and varsities (both private and public) was emphasized then which led to ministers Arun Jaitley and Santosh Gangwar assuring a sympathetic consideration to the demand.

Location: India, Karnataka, Bengaluru




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