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Pay anomaly: IIT professors to go on hunger-strike

Last updated on: September 21, 2009 19:00 IST

IIT-MadrasAbout 1,500 teachers of 13 IITs on Monday decided to go on a hunger strike on Thursday to protest the anomalies in the recently announced pay structure.

The Faculty Federation, which met at IIT Kharagpur, decided to take the action against the pay structure that puts restriction on promotions and lacks performance-based incentives for them.

Classes at the premier institutes will, however, not be affected during the strike.

"We will observe strike on September 24. But we will not boycott work. The classes will go on. We will protest the pay structure that puts a number of curbs on the IIT's system," Prof M Thenmozhi, president of the federation, told PTI after the meeting.

Thenmozhi said the federation will seek an appointment with HRD Minister Kapil Sibal on the issue and submit a fresh memorandum on their demands.

The HRD ministry had notified the pay structure for Central Funded Technical Institutes (CFTIs), including IITs and IIMs, on August 18.

However, the IIT faculty opposed certain provisions, including 40 per cent cap on promotion of professors to senior grade.

The ministry on September 16 came up with a revised notification, which was silent on the issue of cap. Besides, the pay structure puts a number restrictions on the promotion of teachers at the level of associate professors and assistant professors.

"These restrictions tend to affect the IIT system. The IITs have been enjoying flexible cadre system under which they decide promotions of teachers. It is based on performance. But the pay structure puts restriction on promotion which we do not accept," she said.

The IITs are also opposing the provision that at least 10 per cent of total faculty strength should be recruited at the level of assistant professors. 

"If you keep the provision of contractual appointment at the level of assistant professors, the PhD holders will not be interested to join the IITs," Thenmozhi said. The PhD holders should be recruited on a regular basis, she said.

The federation also discussed the issue of performance incentive scheme. It has been demanding such a scheme for long. But the ministry's fresh notification did not mention about any such scheme.

"If certain teachers are doing well, they should be given special incentives," she said.

As per the fresh pay structure, assistant professors on contract will be in pay-band three of Rs 15,600 to Rs 39,100 per month with academic grade pay (AGP) of Rs 6,000. The regular assistant professors will be in pay band of Rs 37,400 to Rs 67,000 per month with AGP of Rs 9,000.

Associate professors have been put in the pay band of Rs 37,400 to Rs 67,000 per month with AGP of Rs 9,500. Similarly, professors will be in the pay band of Rs 37,400 to Rs 67,000 per month with AGP of Rs 10,500.

As per the fresh pay structure, the IIT and IIM teachers stand to get less amount than their counterparts in the US, Europe and China.

In the US, professors get about $150,000 (Rs 75 lakh) annually. Even in Pakistan and China, faculty salaries are higher compared to India, the federation has said.

The IIM faculty is equally unhappy over the pay structure. The IIM-Ahmedabad faculty council met in Ahmedabad on Saturday where they opposed the HRD ministry's order on pay structure.

The IIM faculty has termed the ministry's order as an "infringement" on their academic freedom. IIM teachers have demanded that the new pay regime should not be implemented.

The IIM(A) will take up the issue with other IIMs and IITs and premier institutions like IISc Bangalore.

On the issue of pay structure, the IIT directors had met Sibal earlier this month where his ministry had made a presentation in which it said the IIT faculty was getting better pay than the DRDO scientists.

The IIT faculty will meet their directors before taking up the issue with the Minister. The HRD Ministry sources said it is open to the idea of starting performance incentive scheme for teachers.

"We have asked the IIT directors to come up with a concrete proposal on starting incentive scheme for IIT teachers. The scheme may be started. Let them give the proposal first," a source said. 

IIT Mumbai will join other faculty members across the country for a day-long fast. "We are very much concerned on the notification of the MHRD on the 40 per cent cap on promotions of professors as it will be detrimental to the growth of IITs which so far was based purely on merit," Secretary, Faculty Forum of IIT Bombay Prof S Mukherjee told PTI.

"This is definitely detrimental to the IIT system which has been evolved over a period of 50 years. This really hurts the core of IITs," Mukherjee said.

"We are also against the recruitment issue as this was also based on merit and by putting restrictions of 10 per cent recruitment to be placed only on the lower cadre is going to have negative effect on the standards of IIT," he said.

This kind of promotion and recruitment policies currently applied for University Grants Commission were proved to be unsuccessful and "we want to emphasise that merit should be the only criteria and IITs should have freedom to choose talents from any corner of the world and that is the practice of all the centres of excellence around the globe," he said.

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