Even as faculty members of the Indian Institutes of Technology began their hunger strike on Thursday, the All India IIT Faculty Federation has prepared a letter to be sent to the Ministry of Human Resource Department.
To begin with, the federation would ask the MHRD to clarify the base upon which the recruitment of 10 per cent faculty as 'assistant professors on contract' would be calculated, AIIITFF President M Thenmozhi said. The ministry had suggested that this condition would pertain only to fresh recruitments and would not depend on the total faculty strength in any IIT.
"Further, the MHRD should clearly point out whether this is just a suggestion or a binding condition on IITs," Thenmozhi added.
The federation has also pointed out that orders on promotions during a professor's academic career are an anomaly in the MHRD's statement. "Regarding the contractual position, we would like to bring to the notice of MHRD that at every level, all faculty members spend one year on probation during which period appropriate action, including extension of probation period or even cancellation of appointment, can be taken if they do not meet the expected performance requirements. Since the IITs have a three-cadre system, each faculty member would have served at least three years on probation (one year for each cadre). Is it really necessary to add three more years at the entry level on a contract basis?" Thenmozhi argued.
She added that if a young person with a bachelor's degree or its equivalent in engineering or a post-graduate degree or its equivalent in arts, commerce, humanities, sciences or social sciences is eligible to join any of the universities or institutions as a regular assistant professor, then why should a young person holding a doctoral degree not be eligible to join an IIT with the same designation and be placed in an appropriate pay scale?
The federation is also opposing a 40 per cent cap on professors drawing the highest monthly academic grade pay of Rs 12,000.
"This condition, which is inconsistent with well-founded and long-standing global and national practices, introduces an unheard of new level within a cadre (faculty). Even if these two levels within the cadre are accepted, the maximum of 40 per cent is clearly ill-founded. This will completely demoralise competent people who will necessarily have to wait for their seniors to retire," said Thenmozhi.
The federation also pointed out that there were anomalies in the MHRD's statement on promotions during a professor's academic career.
A person with a bachelor's degree or its equivalent in engineering or a post-graduate degree or equivalent in arts, commerce, humanities, sciences or social sciences is eligible to join any university as a regular assistant professor and is eligible for 'promotion' to the post of associate professor in a minimum period of 12 years through his 'career progression' after obtaining the required additional educational qualifications while in service.
Many such faculty obtain their PhDs in the IITs under the quality improvement programme while in service. "To compare such a faculty with an IIT faculty who is directly recruited at any level, is a pointer to glaring anomalies," the federation said.