GNDU will implement GST on educational services as defined under the Centre’s guidelines with full effect from the new session. The varsity had till now only partially implemented the GST on specified services.
Prof Balwinder Singh, in charge, finance and development, GNDU, said: “The decision will not harm students in any way. The GST is only being implemented on services that are additional to the recognised academic education by the UGC or the ministry concerned. No fee hike on degree education on all courses offered by the GNDU and also services such as hostel and food facilities will also be exempted.”
The GST will cover additional services including using a gymnasium facility, arranging workshops and seminars, getting transcripts and migration certificates from the varsity. “While the recognised degree courses have been exempted from GST, if the university offers any certificate course, it will come under GST. Also, it will include charges on food kiosks running on the campus,” he said.
Meanwhile, student bodies lodged a protest against the inclusion of education services under GST. Obtaining duplicate merit certificate or detailed mark sheet, inter-college migration certificate, attestation of photostat copy per exam, a degree in absentia, rechecking fee for answer sheets, reevaluation fee, membership fee for using the gym, swimming pool, fitness center, will be included under the GST.
Students For Students (SFS) condemned the GNDU authorities for implementing the move so quickly. “The Centre has brought educational services under GST, which will certainly make education more costly and in turn making it out of reach of students, especially from marginalised sections. It should also be noted that GNDU is the costliest government university in the state. The university has also not issued final mark sheets and certificates to students eligible for post-matric scholarships,” shared Shubhkaram Singh, a student and member of SFS.
“The government is pushing for commercialisation of education under the garb of a global pandemic. This is vulgar opportunism as the university is shut due to Covid-19 and students are in no position to physically oppose this decision. When people are already grappling with necessary things for survival, this decision has added to their misery particularly for poor and marginalised students,” he said.
“While other countries are trying to help students and provide free education, our government is burdening them by putting tax and decreasing the fellowship slots and cutting funds,” said Jatinder Vir Singh, research scholar, department of pharmaceutical sciences, GNDU. Harinder Singh, a social sciences research scholar, also said the Punjab Government should look into the matter, because this was the major reason why our educated people were moving abroad.