Assocham, the apex body of industries, has put forward a suggestion to the central Government, according to which, all the educational products used by the school and college students should be exempted from central and state taxes. According to Assocham, this move will go a long way in promoting education and ensuring affordability of such products.
The body also added that this would be particularly helpful to the students belonging to the lowest strata of the society.
According to the current tax slabs, the education products such as pens, pencils, books, note-books etc. are levied 2% excise duty along with the education cess. Apart from these, the state Government also levies a 5% VAT on these products.
The apex body also suggested that these products must also be omitted from the purview of GST which would ensure that the students get access to these products with considerate ease.
The pre-budget memorandum of Assocham that would be submitted to the Government also included "Exemption available in respect of all services received by an educational institution should be restored to make education services more affordable,"
Assocham further goes on to recommend that the exemption of immovable property service which is given to the educational institutions must also continue. Also, the umbrella of 'exempted services' must be enlarged to cover up a number of other services such as computer software, IT lab services, guest teachers and all the other services which are related to education delivery in the institutions.
Assocham's General Secretary, DS Rawat said "Withdrawal of exemption on services such as renting of building/premise, staffing/recruitment and others, would lead to increase in cost of provision of education services,"
Some of the other points suggested by Assocham in order to provide impetus to the education sector include "“
- Enhancing the budget allocation in the education sector
- Ensuring ease of availability of education loans
- Attracting forest investors into the country's education sector by coming up with fresh and innovative policies
- Facilitating tie ups with renowned foreign universities to further boost the level of education in India
- Offering scholarships and other incentives to the students
In the previous union financial budget, a sum of Rs 28,635 crore was allocated to the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, where as Rs 4,966 crore were allocated to the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan. Both of these are the flagship schemes of the Government of India.