Professors from the University of Delhi want the removal of the Goods and Services Tax which is applicable on academic activities such as application forms, examination fees, and entrance fees.
Former President of Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) and a professor at the Department of Social Sciences, Aditya Narayan Mishra has already written to the Union Human Resource Development Minister Mr. Prakash Javadekar to reconsider charging the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from students as it will ‘burden’ the students by making education inaccessible.
“The imposition of the 18 per cent GST on the admission and examination forms for the young trying to get admission in universities, on the other hand, is nothing but education denied to those coming from economically weaker and backward sections of the Indian society,” reads the letter written to the union minister. “Please withdraw GST on students’ fees immediately and make education inclusive,” Mishra said in the letter.
The GST, India’s biggest reform tax, passed as an act in the Lok Sabha on 27 March 2017, finally coming into effect across the country on 1st July 2017.
With a motive to make the taxation process simpler by eliminating the concept of multiple taxations, the GST is all set to strike the education sector as well. A lion’s share of the economy is fulfilled by the quality education and high levels of literacy. However, the way the tax will affect the education process makes the faculty of most Delhi University colleges apprehensive.
The faculty is protesting against the imposition of 18% of GST being levied on admission as well as examination forms for students across universities, claiming it will slow down the social transformation of students.
Teachers claim this move will neglect the economic situation of the students and their parents, who are working as watchmen, security guards, or are engaged in other menial jobs. “The government needs to make higher education accessible to youth, treat it as an instrument for upliftment for those unable to afford it. My students have expressed their parents’ inability to afford higher education if they have to pay money at every stage,” said Rajesh Jha, a professor at Rajdhani College to India Today.
The professor’s sentiments echo the feelings of most of the underprivileged parents of this country, those who wish to send their children to premier government institutions but are unable to given their financial restrictions. “The country’s goal must be to make education as accessible as possible, but with further taxation on university fees, it seems to defeat the purpose”, commented a former professor from the University of Delhi.
“Given how caste and class politics plague the inclusion of so called ‘lower caste’ people into the educational premises due to being enmeshed in the vicious cycle of caste privilege, the government’s move on taxation isn’t quite smart, it only manages to marginalise the already marginalised”, opines a former student from Miranda House.
Feature Image Credits: India TV Paisa
Ankita Dhar Karmakar