Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present her fourth annual budget on February 01. India’s edtech sector is looking forward to upcoming budget with high expectations. Industry players have pinned their hopes on a range of issues including ESOP tax structure, GST relief, lower intertest rates and improvement of digital infrastructure.
Here is what the top executives of the edtech sector have to say:
Mr. Karanvir Singh, Founder & CEO, Pariksha – Vernacular EdTech Company, urged the government to reconsider the existing the tax structure on ESOPs and to create a centralised Professional Tax system on the lines of GST.
“In the current times, to build a successful startup one needs to have a strong team. However, retaining talent is not as easy when you are running a young business. In order to be able to attract and retain talent a lot of startups started offering ESOPs. We really would like the government to consider the tax structure on ESOPS, such that it be taxed only at the time of sales and not at the time of exercising, as the case currently is. Additionally, a centralised Professional Tax system on the lines of GST will further help, and increase the ease of business for startups operating in multiple states,” he said.
Mr. Sahil Miglani, Co-Founder, Geekster, called for higher budget allocation for education sector and also to revisit the high GST on education-related services
“The Pandemic has changed the way learning happens and fast-forwarded the adoption of online education by 5-10 years. Delivering quality education to every town and village of the country is now possible, provided we improve the digital infrastructure.We expect the Government to revisit the high GST on education related services, and overall higher budget allocation to this sector,” he said.
Mr. Rachit Agrawal, Co-founder & Director of AdmitKard, stressed the need to build stronger capabilities in the school infrastructure to enable the hybrid model of education.
“This budget we expect to see the Indian economy moving it’s focus to build stronger capabilities in the school infrastructure to enable the hybrid model of education which has become essential in the recurring pandemic scenario. Additionally, early education needs to get more tech enabled and we expect that should work in favor of the EdTech community. Further, there should be greater emphasis on skills and language training in order to make Indian youth ready for the global economy, and encouraging more Indians to migrate for work or studies, he said.
Mr. Himanshu Tyagi, CEO & Founder of Digikull also highlighted higher GST on skilling and sought lower interest rates on education loan.
“In India, any skill development related service must come under the lowest tax slab. The government should revisit the 18% GST on skilling, which is very demotivating for the students who want to gain skill-related education. Even the loans related to education must be provided for lower interest rates. Only then will we be able to say that in India the policies are encouraging towards education and literacy. During the pandemic too the edtech played a vital role in keeping the show running for education institutes. Now they need the Budget to consider a decent allocation to the sector to suffice for long term tax exemption, technology and accessibility,” he said.