Hyderabad: The SSC and Inter Board exams are feeling the pinch of GST too. The Board of Intermediate Education on Wednesday increased first and second year exam fee for this year, while the SSC Board too wants exam fees to be increased on the grounds that the GST has imposed an additional Rs 1 crore burden with increased paper and printing costs.
At present, the BIE collects Rs 360 Inter exam fee per student, which has been increased by Rs 80, taking it to Rs 440. Science students appearing for practical exams have to shell an additional Rs 100.
Both the boards purchase tonnes of paper for question papers and answer booklets. Then there is the additional cost of printing. The tax on paper and printing has been increased in GST and is more than the earlier VAT.
The SSC Board has been spending Rs 18 crore per year to conduct SSC exams but gets only Rs 11 crore through collection of fee from students. At present, the SSC exam fee is Rs 125 per student and the board has urged the government to increase the fees to at least Rs 150.
However, the government has kept the SSC exam fee hike proposal pending as government teachers’ unions and student organisations are strongly opposing the fee hike. These associations are in fact demanding that the government should exempt fees for students in government schools.
“Though Rs 125 looks like a small amount, thousands of students from BPL families in remote areas struggle to pay this amount every year. There are instances of these students missing the exams due to non-payment of the fee. When there is a need to completely exempt the fee for such students, the government is planning to increase fee this year citing GST, which is not acceptable. We will intensify agitation programmes if the exam fee is increased,” said Saro-tham Reddy, TS Pro-gressive Recognised Tea-chers Union president.
The SSC Board has written to the government that it is already facing shortage of funds to conduct the exams and the additional burden on account of GST, will further compound its woes.
However, Deputy CM and education minister Kadiam Srihari said, “The government has not taken any decision on increasing exam fee so far. Officials have sent proposals in this regard, which are being examined.”
The expenditure for construction of new schools, additional classrooms and other infrastructure facilities have also increased on account of GST....