The MaharashtraPrathamik Shikshan Parishad’s directive to bring school management committees under the Goods and Services Tax(GST) net has left teachers’ associations in a fix.
As per the directive, issued through a letter on December 17 last year, the committees of local body-run schools, including those in the rural areas, should be brought under the GST net. However, the teachers’ associations have asked how can education be brought under the definition of ‘Goods and Services’.
The associations have demanded either an exemption or a separate fund to help them meet the cost of account maintenance. “Rural schools get anywhere from Rs 7,000 to Rs 17,000 government aid per year. The GST registration will cost the schools Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,500, while for maintaining the account, schools will have to pay at least Rs 500 to a chartered accountant (CA) each month, which comes to Rs 6,000 a year. The principals are wondering from which account should they pay for this when the money coming for the maintenance of rural schools itself is very low,” a teacher from the Navi Mumbai area said.
A teacher from Chalisgaon said, “Schools in the rural areas generally have just two or three rooms and two teachers. With the aid that we receive, the schools have to pay for electricity, maintenance and stationary. The maintenance fund is hardly enough for the upkeep and even the building fund comes in every three to four years.”
Rajendra Lande, joint director of finance at Samagra Shiksha department, said, “We will train all district coordinators on how to register themselves online, after which they can teach it to their officers. Every year, the schools will spend Rs500-Rs 1,000 if they get it done through a CA. The government has exempted businesses earning up to Rs40 lakh from paying GST. Most of these schools will come under that. However, there is a need to file a nil return. Hence, we have told them to register.”
Source: Times of India