The GST advantage
The GST exemption in the education sector will keep cost of school fees, textbooks and notebooks low, benefitting many
The Government’s decision to exempt education and healthcare from the GST is to be applauded. It is high time that the social sector, which needs to be greatly improved in India for its growth needs, is given benefits like this. Almost all developed and developing countries realised this — the more highly educated their population is, the greater will be the speed of growth. However, India’s investment in education, both public and private, has been lagging behind. This tax exemption therefore, will go a long way in setting right this anomaly.
It is well recognised that it is Government’s duty to educate its citizens. However, if there are not enough resources with the Government to set up schools and colleges, the private sectors step in. The problem is that the costs become prohibitive for the average citizen, resulting in high basic fees and other input costs. We have regular situations where parents protest against high fees. Therefore, this GST exemption will help to keep the cost of school fees, text books, notebooks, stationery and other allied services (hopefully school transport) low.
I hope private schools do their part and pass on this benefit to students by not increasing fees at the rate at which it has been done in the past. In line with this textbooks and notebooks manufacturers must also give relief to parents by cutting prices of these books. State Government must also exempt school transport and meals from the burden of GST so as to encourage the education sector. Sports goods used in educational institutions must also be given this tax-cut. Education without sport is incomplete and we must give some exemption to all types of sports so as to improve our international performance.
This policy fits in with Noble laureate Amartya Sen’s theory, that health and education are the two core sectors which must be kept at a high standard for any nation to achieve growth and become a global power.
The writer is Ranjit K Dass, principal of Nath Valley School, Aurangabad
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