Bhubaneswar: The issue of anomalies in provision of revised UGC pay scale to university, government college and aided college teachers is back to haunt the State Government.
The Sixth Pay Commission's recommendations may have come as a boon for the State Government employees, but for university teachers, it has been a case of what they call 'discrimination'.
Although the University Grants Commission (UGC) notified the revision scheme soon after Pay Commission recommendation to draw the best brains into teaching, the State Government's Fitment Committee played spoilsport, alleged University Teachers Association (UTA), OUAT and Federation of Odisha University Teachers’ Association members on Sunday.
The Government brought into effect revised UGC pay scales for university and college teachers in December 2009, but the teachers allege the former deviated from what the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) had laid down.
The revised pay scale of college and university teachers was published in a resolution on December 14, 2009. Although the UGC recommended that readers with three years of service would be in the pay band-4 (Rs 37,000 to Rs 67,000) with an additional grade pay of Rs 9,000, the State Government decided to raise this to five years.
The MHRD had stated that 80 per cent of the additional requirements of the State governments for effecting revised pay scales will be reimbursed only when the latter implements the Ministry’s scheme of revision as a composite package. The State Government will have to meet 20 per cent of additional expenditure involved in revision of pay scales from its own sources.
Accordingly, the UGC assistance for the purpose in State stood at Rs 331 crore.
"The UGC provided for promotion of Associate Professor to Pay Band IV after completion of three years of service. But the Fitment Committee raised the service years to five," said Pravat Kumar Sarangi, president of the UTA.
Later, the Government sought a clarification from the Centre whether the modified pay scale would be acceptable to the UGC, to which, the latter denied.
"Interestingly, the Higher Education department sought clarification from the HRD Ministry when the Finance department queried whether changes made by the department would be allowed by the UGC for grant of Central assistance," Sarangi said.
Meanwhile, the UGC assistance of Rs 331 crore for implementation of revised pay scale has not been provided to the State so far.
This apart, while the UGC had recommended a special allowance of Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,000 to principals of undergraduate and post-graduate colleges respectively, the Government decided against it. Although the issue has been raised by various leaders on the floor of the Assembly four times in the past, no action has been taken by the Government.
Demanding Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's intervention to rectify the anomalies, the university teachers' bodies said the decision is a reflection on the higher education sector and have threatened agitation in case their demands are not met. "We will hold discussions with the Government over the issues till June 28. If no action is initiated by then, we will intensify our agitation," Sarangi added.