#GST will increase cost of higher education: Dr H Chaturvedi, Director @bimtechnoida @arunjaitley

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JIBRAN NAZIR

Dr. H Chaturvedi, Director Birla Institute of Management Technology is one of the prominent Management Gurus of the country who has held several key positions in the field of Management education and academic administration. He has around thirty research papers to his name and has authored several books on the subject.

In an exclusive interview with Ten News, he expressed his concerns over implementation of #GST on outsourced services in the colleges and universities. Below are the excerpts from the interview ;

Ten News: How do you look at the Goods and Services Tax which is believed to be a major tax reform in India since Independence?

Dr Chaturvedi: India, being a huge country, had a cumbersome and complex taxation system. GST has got rid of multiple tax system and produces a unified system of taxation. It has provided an opportunity to the whole country to see all the businesses from a single lens. It will create an apt environment for businesses. But, at the same time there are apprehensions, that small traders, who are not well prepared to conform to this new system, they are likely to face a lot of difficulties. So, in my view, we are moving in a good direction but I am not sure whether the journey will be smooth, painful, or with hiccups.

Ten News: There is still a lot of chaos among the traders and business houses regarding the implementation of this new law, how can that be taken care of?

Dr Chaturvedi: Government has been making efforts to reach out to general public in order to explain the salient features of the new system, using all forms of media. Even the professional bodies and traders associations have been active, as well. There have been lectures, seminars with the help of which this new taxation system has been explained. But I think, compared to the huge requirement of creating awareness, this is not sufficient. Although, we have been talking for last so many years, but serious discussions and discourses have been taking place only for a few months. I think for coming six months, all the stakeholders that include everyone, from industrialists to housewives, should be trained enlightened about the vital features of this new taxation system.

Ten News: The GST has been divided into several tax slabs. Your expert views on this.

Dr Chaturvedi: So far, we have been taxing goods and services from the point of origin. Now it has been shifted to the point of consumption. When you buy something or consume something, you will be taxed. This is a radical change. Traders are going to use the same numbers for trading, in all parts of the country. They will be required to take two numbers; one from the centre and other from the state. By using those two numbers, they can trade at any place in the country. By using information and technology, all transactions will be brought under the cover of taxation. So there is a chance that government revenue will increase, providing better avenues for the central as well as state governments.

Ten News: How is GST going to affect the cost of living, for a common man?

Dr Chaturvedi: For next one year, I think, there will be a lot of churning. What government couldn’t do is last seventy years is being done now.

Only when we experience something, we know whether or not it is good. There will be a lot of representations, litigation, memorandums to the government and people will difenilty raise their objection to the slab system introduced by the government. There are several slabs, many goods have been exempted from the tax.

Ten News: How will he GST affect the education sector?

Dr Chaturvedi: In India there are around eight thousand universities and forty thousand colleges with an enrolment of around 3.5 Crore students. With GST there is going to escalation in the cost of higher education. For example, a university hostel mess, which has been outsourced, the costs are going to rise by 18 per cent. Similarly, transport service will see a hike.

GST will definitely increase burden on the pockets of college and university students and teachers, as well. It is a not very good move, in my opinion. Higher education is the ladder that provides livelihood and employment to the students.

The cost of higher education is already too high, private university in particular. There are only a few central universities, around 45 in the entire country. 70 – 80% of the higher education students go to private universities. Surprisingly, GST has levied both private as well as central universities and outsourcing of services is a phenomena. A college or universities core competency is to impart education, not to provide food and transport. Hence, these services are outsourced. In this regard, we have met honourable finance minister, Mr Jaitley, last month. We have submitted a representation on behalf of the education promotion society of India. I am surprised how, people who were involved in preparing tax slabs, could they think about taxing outsourced services of universities and colleges. It is against the interest of the nation. We should try to reduce the cost of higher education rather than increasing it.

Ten News: How will he GST affect the country’s economy?

Dr Chaturvedi: In the long run, It will definitely give a push to economic growth in the country. But presently, it will create a lot of issues and challenges to the government, GST council and all the stake holders. They will have to address the problem being faced by a common man.

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