Fact Check: Centre did not impose tax on school books; here's the truth

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A message is being circulated on social media with a claim that the Government of India has imposed taxes on all school books.
“स्कूल की किताबों पर टैक्स लगाने वाला पहला देश बना भारत. अनपढ़ रहेगा इंडिया तभी तो अंध भक्त बनेगा इंडिया ” the post read.
(Translation: India becomes the first country to impose a tax on school books. If India remains illiterate only then will Indians become blind devotees.)

At the time of filing the report, the above post had more than 5,900 shares on Facebook.
More posts can be seen here and here.


NewsMobile fact-checked the above post and found the claim to be false and misleading.
We checked the official website of Goods and Services Tax Council of India and found that no taxes are levied on ‘printed books‘.
This includes

  • Printed books, including Braille books
  • Newspapers, journals and periodicals, whether or not illustrated or containing advertising material
  • Children’s picture, drawing or colouring books.

We noticed that printed books etc come under Chapter 49 of GST, so we ran a search and found a list of items that fall under it on the website of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade.

Taking the investigation further, we ran a keyword search and found an article by Scroll dated 2017 stating that there’s no GST on books but yet books will become more expensive due to tax slabs on printing, binding and royalty, which will raise the production cost.

Upon more research, we also found that in 2019 Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed a 5 per cent customs duty on imported books in order to encourage domestic publishing. Reports about the same can be seen here and here.
Moreover, the Press Information Bureau (PIB) also clarified that no taxes have been levied on school books.

Hence, from the above information, it is clear that no tax has been levied on school books in India.

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