What many students across the nation feared prior to the implementation of Goods & Services Tax, may have come true. Several reports in newspapers have confirmed that students appearing for entrance exams and pursuing self-financing courses will have to pay more; a GST Impact.
Are Entrance Exams going to be Costlier in India? What sort of implications will it have on highly competitive test like NTSE 2017, CAT 2017, etc.
Also Read: Prepare for NTSE Exam: The SMART Way
GST Impact on Entrance Examinations
The new prospectus for CEE (Combined Entrance Examination) conducted by Central University such as Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) includes GST. For instance, the admission to M.Tech biotechnology shows the entrance exam fee as Rs 1,000. Furthermore, GST for general category including OBC and Rs 500 plus GST for SC/ST and persons with disability.
Impact on Coaching Institutes
Clearing any competitive exams or scholarship exams today seems impossible without the help of coaching centres. Moreover, GST has raised the rate of taxes to 18% from 14% for these coaching institutes.
Now, it is definitely a matter of concern for students and their parents. Students looking for knowledge through IIT coaching might feel the burden. And because the rates will be more, therefore other competitive exams might take a hit.
One solution could be to study from free e-learning websites. These digital learning sites offer online practice papers or E-Mock papers. As a result, students can save money.
A big relief comes for the students looking to get services provided by Indian Institute of Management. Some of the services exempted include:
- A two-year full-time residential Post Graduate Programme in Management for the Post Graduate Diploma in Management. Admissions are done in it on the basis of Common Aptitude Test (CAT).
(b) Fellow program in management;
(c) Five-year integrated programme in management;
(d) Further, any service provided by–
(i) The National Skill Development Corporation set up by the Government of India;
(ii) A Sector Skill Council approved by National Skill Development Corporation;
(iii) An assessment agency approved by Sector Skill or National Skill Development Corporation;
(iv) A training partner approved by National Skill Development Corporation or sector skill services.
The Current Debates
First of all it is clear that the question on the impact of GST on entrance examinations needs more discussion. Furthermore Debates on Indian social networking sites including Quora are filling with queries around this topic.
Many economists today, have polarising opinions on the introduction of GST in higher education sector. Consequently, a section of experts point out that the GST exempts only up to the higher secondary level. And, the GST Council can impose 18 percent tax on college and university studies.
The other group believes that the education sector is totally free from GST, except hostel fee, mess fee and canteen services.
Looking for More Clarity
The impact of GST on educational career of millions of students is yet to be assessed. Also, Debates are now happening around the online education sector and e-learning services. And, it is difficult to answer – as these services are not defined anywhere in GST law under Place of supply Provision.
In the end it is clear that these services including that of entrance exams, are not taxable nor have specific definitions in GST law. (if otherwise taxable) – so better clarity from the current Government of india would be good.