Graduate Exit Tax

graduate.jpgThe UPA government has reached the height of short sightedness. The recent addition to its silly moves is imposing exit tax on IIT and IIM graduates. Although this is just a suggestion by the parliamentary committee on higher education, the F.M and the planning commission are hell bent to implement this. The sad part of the story is the self proclaimed successful script writers (current P.M & F.M) of neo liberal development and pushing India to the global economic growth are the brains behind this economically panic stirring idea of graduate tax. A few thousand or lakh for the foreign plane boarding graduate may not be a big amount but it will lead to another addition of string of harassments for migrants. As a clever of policy makers of this complex and composite nation both has to understand the fallout of the proposed graduate tax.

Nearly a lakh of students are going abroad for higher studies and half a lakh are chasing greener pastures after graduating from prestigious central institutions. The Union government thinks that a large scale migration of graduates who availed a heavy subsidized education is a major economic loss for it. Without understanding the remittances done by expatriates the section of narrow minded babus and netas in north block are mooting this idea. Although the brain drain was debated and discussed thoroughly in the past and ignored it after careful considerations, there is a new flip to this vanished issue.

The cause for new idea of imposing exit tax came after the demand to raise resources for the major expansion plans of HRD ministry in the higher education sector. The alternative suggestion given by wise thinkers are, increasing the tuition fees in the creamy institutions. Why should the government collect just few thousand rupees from the graduates in IITs, AIIMS and IIMs? The churning out a graduate in IIT costs the state exchequer Rs. 15 lakhs. A meager 10 percent of the costs are recovered through tuition fees. The same can be said about AIIMS, and IIMs. Those who are capable of paying full costs should be encouraged to pay and those who cannot should be provided scholarships or bank loans at nominal interests. Due to the lack of scholarships and horrible rules for bank loans, poor students are harassed unlimitedly. The Finance Minister keep on taking about historical increase in the amount of bank loans without realizing the torture faced by the applicants. All the good intentions of P.M and F.M will fly in the air unless they spot the loopholes and plug it immediately. A leader’s success depends on finding out the gaps in his or her vision implementation. The captain and his entire crew in the UPA’s ship are sailing without any clues about the leakages.   

As the nation is not in a position to absorb all the graduates with employment there is no harm in allowing them to avail job opportunities abroad. This will help the government in two big ways. One, the hi-tech graduates can get employment. Two, they send remittances in dollars which will increase the foreign exchange capacity of the country.

While throwing a lot of attention on higher education the government movers and shakers need to take note of the following points.

1.    Depoliticise education development. Keep away governmental nose from the autonomous institutions and allow them to act creatively for financial mobilization.

2.    Encourage edupreneurs to open institutes of higher learning throughout length and breadth of the country.

3.    Provide them tax incentives and support

4.    Insulate them from bureaucratic tortures and harassments

5.    Appoint education loan officer in every branch of the nationalized bank and disburse loans within 24 hours

6.    Constitute round the clock helpline to handle education loan complaints

7.    Involve private donors for the development of government institutes

8.    Motivate business houses to institute endowments in a big way

9.    Link industry and universities

10. Be a catalyst to higher education not a troubleshooter

If the UPA government is keen to uplift higher education then it needs to put down its commandments to propel the crucial sector for the national development. Random thinking without concrete benefits and wayward approach will doom the India’s higher education. Graduate tax or increasing the tuition fee should be analysed economically and socially before implementation. For gaining one the state should lose ten.



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