A pay hike is expected soon for teachers in higher education as the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is preparing to drop the controversial norm under which centre cannot fund non norm following state governments in order to implement salary hike under Sixth Pay Commission. The ministry will table the proposal in Cabinet to allow it to pay state governments up to 80% of the additional financial burden imposed by hiked University Grants Commission teacher salaries, informed top government sources.
If the proposal gets cabinet nod, it will benefit over 4.5 lakh teachers across India’s state universities and affiliated colleges. These teachers will receive a long overdue pay bonanza which was stuck due to fund crisis.
The norm that was introduced in the UGC pay package which was notified on December 31, 2008 has taken only central universities in its ambit excluding the state universities. The norm allows the Centre to financially assist only those states that raise the retirement age of their college and university teachers to 65 years. Different states at present have different retirement ages norms.
The centre will have to bear an amount of up to Rs. 8, 000 crore a year if it pays 80% of the additional cost for salary hikes to the states. “But this is the same amount we were earlier too prepared to pay — except that now we are not insisting on raising the retirement age,” an official said.
Education ministers from most states — both those ruled by the Congress and those ruled by Opposition parties — had asked HRD minister Kapil Sibal at their meeting on June 18, 2010 to retract the norm insisting on hiking the retirement age to 65 years to entitle them to Central funds.
The issue of retirement age has also evoked mixed responses from various states. While Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh have argued that hiking the retirement age would hurt young aspiring teachers — an argument rejected by the HRD ministry citing the massive faculty crunch. Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have argued that teachers in their states were a part of the government cadre and that their retirement age could not be raised selectively without hiking the age of superannuation of other government employees.
Kerala and West Bengal have said that teacher retirement age is solely a state subject and have questioned central attempts to link the financial assistance package to the retirement age hike.
Meanwhile, various state university teacher groups have filed petitions pleading the Centre to aid states financially to facilitate their salary hikes.
[Source: Hindustan Times]
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