Industry body Assocham on Wednesday said the Centre should look at exempting all educational products, used by school and college students, from both central and state taxes.
This will help in promoting education and providing educational aids at affordable prices, particularly to the lower economic strata, Assocham said in its pre-Budget memorandum submitted to the government.
“Exemption available in respect to all services received by an educational institution should be given to make educational services more affordable,” the body suggested. At present, educational products, such as exercise books, pens, notebooks, pencils, geometry boxes and other such items attract 2 per cent excise duty (without CENVAT credit) plus education cess.
Also, most of these products, come under the ambit of states' value added tax (VAT) at the rate of 5 per cent, it said. Assocham has suggested that products required for educational purposes should be exempted from the proposed GST (goods and services tax) and the exemption list should be determined in accordance with the nature of goods and services.
On renting of immovable property service, the industry body said the exemption to educational institutions must continue, and further, it should be enhanced to all services directly related to education and training of students.
“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,” said D.S. Rawat, Assocham Secretary General.
The body also suggested an increase in budget allocation to the education sector, easing education loan availability and floating concrete policies to attract foreign investors to improve education infrastructure.
Moreover, it said the Budget should also take care of the issues pertaining to foreign universities' participation in India's education sector and offer incentives like scholarships and other schemes to enhance female enrolment across states.