An open letter to the Government of India
For once, I would not be writing as a journalist, a social commentator, or a political observer. Penning this one as an anxious parent, I would like to draw your attention to the exemptions of GST in the Education Industry, or should we say—the need for it. With great minds evolving out of our country, right from world-class engineers, scientists, to doctors and mathematicians, why is India still in the clutches of problems related to illiteracy and poverty? Why are people yet devoid of high-quality education?
These days, transparency has brought us face to face with many issues and agendas that our nation needs to deal with. Out of the many concerns surfacing, there is one dire situation that I believe is slowly eating-up our nation’s strength from the inside without the necessary heed paid to it by the masses. What puts me in perplexity is why are the GST rates on beauty salons, movie tickets, or even business class air tickets going down, while the middle class struggles to finish or even afford to get good quality higher education?
The unfair situation where private education is put in the 2nd highest tax slab has put many efforts into waste, be it a graduate or postgraduate level private institution, which by the way, has more students applying for than the government institutions. The services and courses which bring global standards to the education system in the country are still levied 18% of GST, while the extravagance of eating at restaurants can be enjoyed at a reduced rate. GST even encourages spewing money on the state-run lotteries while preparing for competitive exams seems to be a luxury only a few can afford.
The schemes such as Make in India and Skill India aren’t going to be worth much if we have GST levied on enrollments, food supplied to the students, campus security, or other such imperative elements of the education industry. The recession is tiptoeing around the corner, and unemployment isn’t an issue we can sweep under the rug!
A reduction in the GST for the education industry in entirety isn’t just an appeal coming from me as a concerned parent but from millions of people who are looking for high-quality education as they look upon you for a trustworthy step towards it.