Taxes imposed on school playgrounds

On one hand, the state government makes sports compulsory in schools, while on the other it imposes taxes on schools that have playgrounds and open spaces.

Most schools in the city lack playgrounds and are run from congested premises and multi-storeyed commercial complexes. The government has turned a blind eye to this requirement of open spaces and playgrounds and even the mandatory sports period for students, which some schools just ignore.

Instead, it levies property tax on playgrounds/open spaces, which discourages school managements who are willing to encourage sports, from doing so.

Thousands of schools have mushroomed in the city since the early 2000s to meet the huge demand for private English medium schools. But hardly any of them have playgrounds and organised sports.

The few schools that have vast playgrounds were set up decades ago on a non-profit basis by various Christian missions and trusts, when there was no space crunch.

Schools that have sprung up since the early 2000s are often run from commercial multi-storeyed buildings with shops on the ground floor and classes on higher floors. They concentrate on getting students through the competitive exams and have no time or inclination for teaching sports.

S. Sreenivas Reddy, the president of the AP Recognised Private Schools Managements Association, points out that Chief Minister has taken the initiative to make sports compulsory in all schools.

“A GO was issued to this effect last year, but it is hardly implemented. Instead of giving tax rebate for schools that encourage sports, the government has been imposing additional financial burden by levying property tax on playgrounds/open spaces,” Reddy said.

The association wants the government to rethink this skewed policy where “schools with no playgrounds are relieved of property tax, and those that are willing to encourage sports are being taxed.”
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