Nearly a year after demonetisation, MP students queue up again for GST
Educationists said this situation could have been avoided if the higher education department had developed its own portal instead of depending on MPOnline, which charges GST for providing a service.bhopal Updated: Oct 04, 2017 21:33 IST
Hardly a year since the central government’s “bold” demonetisation move, students of universities and government colleges in Madhya Pradesh are being forced to queue up again. This time, however, the deposits are no larger than Rs 4.50.
The reason for the queues is the Goods and Services Tax (GST), an equally ambitious programme rolled out by the Union government on July 1. The aforementioned amount equals 18% of the Rs 25 fee paid by students while filling forms through MPOnline – the state government’s citizen services portal – and is the exact monetary figure sought as part of the new taxation system.
“We received the order on GST only a few days ago, after most students had already deposited their fees. This is why they have been asked to deposit Rs 4.50, which is 18% GST on the portal charge of Rs 25,” said a government college principal.
Educationists said this situation could have been avoided if the higher education department had developed its own portal instead of depending on MPOnline, which charges GST for providing a service. They also took umbrage to students being asked to pay the new tax.
“Why are students being forced to stand in queue to pay the tax at a time when the Centre is promoting ideas like Digital India and Cashless India? Have they introduced online services to make our lives easier or more complicated?” asked Renu Akhande, a student.
Akshay Hunka, an activist, wondered why students were being taxed when higher education was omitted from the GST’s ambit. “As I recall, the Centre had said that traditional courses of higher education will not be affected by the new taxation system,” he said.
Barkatullah University registrar UN Shukla told HT that he was simply following rules laid down by the state government.
Commercial tax department commissioner Raghvendra Singh said GST costs were applied in this case because the MPOnline portal provided colleges and universities with a service by accepting student fees. “If the government wants to keep students out of the GST’s purview, it should stop seeking portal fees from them. If zero fees are taken, zero taxes will be charged,” he suggested.
Additional chief secretary (higher education) BR Naidu said no such issue was brought to his notice.