The Federation of Educational Publishers in India (FEPI) on Saturday urged the government to addresses some “inadvertent anomalies” that have crept into the tax structure for books under the proposed GST regime. Addressing its concerns to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the FEPI — an umbrella body of over 2,000 publishers — said that according to the final Goods and Service Tax (GST) slabs, books had been largely exempted from tax. The publishers’ body, however, added that some categories of books, such as those for colouring, drawing, workbook of all types and exercise books, have been made taxable under the GST structure.
“We would like to point out that these books are for children, who have just entered the schools and are in the age group of three to 12. This additional tax will pose financial burden on their parents. We request the government to immediately rectify this,” said S.K. Ghai, the FEPI President. Science practical and lab manuals, and maths activity manuals with printed material and some blank pages have also been put under the taxable category. Terming these “anomalies” as a “major oversight”, FEPI General Secretary R.K. Gupta urged the Finance Minister to roll it back.
“This will lead to a major burden on millions of children and their parents, who shall have to bear the burden of more expensive books. These books for tiny tots not only bring out the hidden talent of children but also help them shape their creativity and evolve into good human beings,” said Gupta. He further added that all types of books should be kept away from the GST.