Dear Mr. Fadanavis, Redraft the proposed Coaching Class Regulation Bill & make it sustainable.

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193 students scored perfect 100% marks i.e. a score of 500/500 in Xth class board exams last year in Maharashtra boards alone, while 125 students did the same this year.  Does this level of perfection surprise you?

If yes (and most people are), welcome to the world of coaching classes in India. A parallel education system run by enterprising educationists, which has dwarfed the official, government, backed education infrastructure by leaps & bounds.

While most of you may have heard about & pondered over developmental excellence achieved by various enterprising people across the world like the Japanese Quality Management Systems, The American culture of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, leadership of the French & Italians in cuisine & fashion, the total dominance of Kalenjin tribe & Meskel Square in long distance running or the unbeatable supremacy of the Germans in Machine manufacturing, very few would have thought about the ruthless, cutting edge efficiency practiced & perfected by Indian coaching industry in enhancing the scores of the students across the board.

We do not boast but for a split second please go back to your student days (when coaching classes were few in number) and try to recall how first class holders used to be the toppers & a distinction holder was considered to be a species from the heaven! Compare the situation with now when a distinction is probably an indicator of below average performance. The education system developed with huge grants & investments, five-year plans, subsidies and what not can only take toppers to (what you saw in the 60s & 70s) 60 – 70 %.  All these 100 percenters along with thousands of students scoring in the nineties are due to the coaching classes! PERIOD.

However, this ruthless efficiency of the Coaching industry is about to be disrupted. Not by market forces, but by the demonic sword of the Coaching Classes Regulation Act of the Maharashtra Government. Implementation of this Act will not only result in the vibrant education industry going back by many decades but also lead to untold miseries to students, parents & teachers thus affecting every (EVERY, not almost every!) citizen of the state in some form or the other. This is a weapon of mass destruction of the mainstream education ecosystem & here are a just a few of the projectiles it will unleash upon them.

 

The following were our objections in proposed draft for regulating coaching classes addressed to the Narendra Fadanavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra:

Sub: Our objections in proposed draft for regulating coaching classes.

Dear Sir,

At the outset, we state that we are not against any law for regulating Private Coaching Classes/ Private Tuitions. We have reiterated the same view in a public interest Litigation that is pending before Mumbai High court.  In  the said  public interest litigation we have time and again stated that the  law should be to regulate coaching classes,   but not to virtually control or wipe out coaching classes from the education system , more particularly small classes and tuition teachers which carry the  responsibility of imparting Education  which is prescribed by the state. Draft Regulations though not officially communicated to us have reached the Media and are in public domain, so it is incumbent on us to freely and fairly express our views on various provisions stated in the draft regulation.

It is our humble request to consider our points, which are stated below.

  1. Use of words “Commercialisation of Education “ in the preamble. The Preamble (Page-1) of the draft law refers to Observations made by Supreme Court in case TMA Pai Foundation v/s State of Karnataka. The observations relating to Commercialisation of Education were made by Supreme Court in the context of illegal Capitation fees charged by Colleges, which were recognised by the State. With regards to Private Classes, we humbly submit that the above observations are out of context in the preamble.

 

  1. Application of rules as per Article 3 (3) (Page-6):

As per Article 3 (3) (Page-6), these rules are not applicable to business management course institutes and service providers related to Job Interviews or Business related sessions. We request to include those institute also as misappropriation can also happen in such Institutes.

  1. Application of rules as per Article 3 (3) (Page-6):

As per Article 3 (3) (Page-6), these rules are not applicable to business management course institutes and service providers related to Job Interviews or Business related sessions. We request to include those institute also as misappropriation can also happen in such Institutes.

  1. Scope of corruption in registration process.

No provisions for Automatic Registration. We welcome registration of private coaching classes with State authorities as stated in section 5 (Page-7) of the proposed law. However section 5 (4) states that the authorised officer should grant registration within three months from the date of application. We request to add a provision that if the authorised officer does not communicate refusal of registration within the time limit, the classes will deemed to be registered. Similar provisions have been made under the laws relating to Excise and Service tax. This will reduce the scope of corruption in registration matters.  Also, it should be incumbent on the authorised officer to state the grounds of refusal. Also, the maximum period allowed for communication of refusal should be reduced to one month from the date of application. In Section 5 (3) amount of Registration is not specified. We request that amount should be nominal say Rs. 500 at Gram Panchayat level; Rs. 750 at Nagar Paris had Level and Rs. 1000 at Mahanagarpalika Level. As per Section 5 (5) registration certificate is valid for a period of 3 years. We request to make it for 5 years.

  1. Ban on Integrated Schools Section 11 (Page-10)

We welcome the move to Ban Integrated Schools (Dual Coaching). But there is loop hole in Section 11 (6) which states that Private Coaching Class will be shifted to other place if it is already running under the integrated School. Shifting process will be completed within 90 days after the implication of this Act. While Section 11 (3) states that if any school is found running the integrated School then the grant of the school will be cancelled as per the Government Act. This type of caching classes will not get registration certificate. These both points  contradict each other. At one place it states that such coaching classes will not get Registration Certificate and on the other hand it states that such coaching classes will be asked to shift to new premises outside the campus within 90 days after the implication of this Act. This indicates that coaching classes can still run without having registration certificate, which is totally absurd and vague. So we request not to make such provision of shifting and totally ban such Integrated Schools and Classes and make required arrangements for the students affected.

  1. Restriction to the misguiding advertisement of private coaching classes – Section 13 (Page-11)

Section 13 prohibits misleading advertisements.   We welcome the move of prohibiting misleading advertisements. However putting restrictions on publication of achievements of the classes violates   freedom of Trade and freedom of speech.  The restriction imposed in explanation to section 13 is unreasonable.  We agree that there should be a prohibition on misleading advertisements.  However, an Individual should not be denied to state facts in an advertisement. You can take action on those 1% class owners who do misleading advertisement but do not penalise 99% others who do genuine advertisements.

  1. Submission of a copy of Notes to State Education department Section 23 (11) (Page-15) and Section 16 (Page- 11 & 12)

Section 23 (11) (Page-15) states that if class owner is providing any Study Notes to students, he has to submit a copy of such Study Notes to authorised officers for verification of the content. It should be noted that almost all the coaching classes teach syllabus which are prescribed by Government. Also, these notes are meant for private circulation. Providing one copy of all notes to authorised officers. It is not necessary. Also, it is not practicable for the government to verify such notes, as there is a huge no of Coaching Classes across Maharashtra who will be submitting their notes to the Government and it will lead to red tapes.

As per Section 14 (2) (Page-11), it is necessary to publish information about coaching classes on Government or their own website. We welcome and accept this rule but we cannot disclose our Fee- Structure and no of students due to Trade- Secrets.

  1. Rating and Gradation of Private Coaching Classes as per Section 18 (Page-12)As per Section 18 (Page-12)

Evaluation of private coaching classes will be conducted in once in three years for Inspiration/ Encouragement. For this purpose, Government will prescribe the Criteria. Registration Certificate will not be provided to those who failed to fulfil minimum criteria prescribed by the Governments. This will lead to red tapism and corruption. Hence, we request not to include this Section at all.

  1. Contribution to Education Development Fund – Section 18

Section 18 provides for paying 1% of profit towards Teacher`s development fund.  We bring to your notice that we are already paying 18% GST on services provided by us plus income tax & profession tax.  With the introduction of GST and consequent amendment of constitution, all Indirect taxes have been submerged in to GST and the power of state Government to levy taxes has been restricted. In view of the above, provisions of section 18 requiring payment of towards Education development fund is unconstitutional and against the spirit of One India One Tax. An attempt by State government to charge Tax in the name of Teacher’s Development fund will be termed as coloured legislation. Such tax is not levied on any industry so far.

  1. Restriction on Unreasonable Fees charged by Coaching Classes Section 19 (Page-13)

Section 19 prescribes for formation of committee for fixing reasonable Fees charged by classes. In this connection we state that word reasonable is very vague.

  1. a) The above section is against freedom of trade enshrined in article 19 (g) of the constitution.
  2. b) The above provision will lead to closure of many Coaching Classes from the state of Maharashtra.
  3. c) The state has not made any study about the fees charged by coaching classes in various    areas how can state include such harsh provision without any credible data.
    d) Teaching /coaching is not a standard/measurable service for which fees can be standardised as fees charged and quality of coaching differs based on qualification, experience and skill of teachers as well as an infrastructure & facilities provided.
  1. e) Even Fees of professionals such as lawyers/doctors is not regulated .How can fees of coaching classes be regulated.

 

  1. f)  It is pertinent  to bring to your notice that ordinance issued by State Government in the year 2000 for regulating coaching classes  was stayed by Bombay High court as it contained provision for regulating fees of classes.  Such provisions are bound to promote litigation.

 

  1. Private Tuition Administrative, Monitoring and Governing Body As per Article 21 (Page-14)

As per Article 21 (Page-14), Governing body will be formed at District level, regional level and state level which will be overlooking by the government. We suggest that this governing body should have proportion of 60:40 where 60% officials should be from Coaching Classes Industry and other 40% from the government department.

  1. Right of Enter the premises to Coaching Classes for inspection Section 22 (Page-14)

As per Section 22 (1 & 2) (Page-14), If the designated officer feels that if any rules are violated, he has right to enter the premises of coaching classes for the Inspection at any time without any prior notice. We suggest for any sort of inspection there should be a prior notice because such sudden inspection without any prior notice will disturb the Entire Schedule thereby, disturbing the schedule of the students which will cause loss of student’s time.

  1. Punishment for violation of act as per Section 25 (2) (Page-15)

As per Section 25 (2) (Page-15), if any of the provision or rules of the Act is violated, the governing body will take actions such as: Fine, Cancellation of registration, Police Action, Ban on Permanent basis and Blacklisting. Since we are Professionals and not Criminals, We don’t want police action.

  1. Can’t appeal in court of law as per Section 27, Section 28 and Section 31 (Page 17 & 18)

Section 7 of the draft is unconstitutional & against our fundamental right to approach court in case of grievance.

Pre -Requisite for registration prescribed under Appendix 1 (Page-19) and Appendix 3 (Page-21)

  1. Separate Toilets Blocks – Draft includes small tuition teachers having 5 or more students in amount of coaching classes. It may not be possible for so small class owners to have separate Ladies- Gents toilet blocks. Apart from that, many Coaching classes running in commercial premises don’t have in-house Toilets Blocks. IN COMMERCIAL BUILDING EVEN IN MALLS, NO SHOPS HAVE THEIR INDIVIDUAL TOILET BLOCKS. THEY HAVE TO USE THE COMMON TOILET FACILITIES OF THE BUILDING/ MALLS. WE SUGGEST NOT MAKING IT MANDATORY TO HAVE SEPARATE TOILET BLOCK AT INDIVIDUAL LEVEL.

 

  • Library & Study Room

Above Facilities which are written in the draft will require a huge infrastructure and cost. Since School/ Collages are already providing it, there is no need for duplication.

  • Provision for Parking Area

One of the pre requisite for registration is to provide parking areas to park vehicles brought in by the students. In this connection we state that up to 90% of the students coming to classes are below the age of 18 years and are not legally eligible to drive vehicles. The said provisions are encouraging private vehicles and discouraging public transport system. Also for convenience of students classes are situated near Railway Station where adequate parking may not always be feasible. So we request not to include this as pre requisite.

  • Audit of accounts, As per Appendix 3 (Page-21)

It requiring Audit of accounts of Classes by Auditor    will impose a         unnecessary burden on small classes which  are a  mainly catering to poor and middle class students. Even under the Income, tax Act, and GST (previously VAT and Service Tax) Audit of Accounts was required only for Assessees whose turnover crossed certain thresh hold limits. For example under the Income tax Act Individuals having turnover up to Rs 2 crore are not required to maintain any accounts

  • Payment of Income Tax, Profession Tax, GST, etc. as per Appendix 3 (Page-21)

One more requirement is that the class owner should pay Income Tax, Profession Tax, GST, etc. As far as Income tax, GST and payment of profession tax is concerned it should not be a pre requisite  for  registration as already  there are separate laws relating to these taxes and small  entrepreneurs are exempted from paying taxes under these laws. Making payment of Income tax and GST mandatory for registration of classes will be over riding the exemption granted under the Income tax Act, 1961 and Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017.

  • Recognition of coaching classes as per Appendix 3

As per Appendix, Coaching classes can use the word “Registered” and not “Recognised”. In all our previous communication we have always welcome on the regulation on Coaching Classes by the Government and the sole purpose of welcoming the regulation is that we want our coaching Class Industry to be recognised. Since the registration certificate will be provided by the state authorities only after verifying and scrutinising of pre requisites. So why can’t we right Recognised rather than only registered. Hence we request that we should be allowed to use the word “Recognised”.

On one hand Govt. is talking about ease of doing business & a globalised and liberalised economy   & on the other hand this 20 pages draft is intervening in many aspects. This is transgressing the freedom of trade.

We request to remove the harsh provisions to make teaching activity a workable activity.    Many of the provisions will wipe out small classes and tuition teachers from the field of Education which will be a tremendous loss to students from poor and middle class background.

 

Advocate Vivek Sharma

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