The MHRD Pay Notification: The facts behind the hype
The belated notification of revised pay scales for university and college teachers has been received with mixed feelings though the reality is that it has not brought good news for the teaching profession. On the one hand we have had the media hype, but even more crucial has been the unfortunate focus by the DUTA leadership on the single demand of placing Readers / Lecturers (Selection Grade) in PB4. Even this demand was achieved partially and only after sharp criticism [DTF Leaflet, 17.12.2008] forced the Government to change the word “selected” to “eligible” and finally to “placed” and “re-designated”. But what has been the fate of our other demands? The facts behind the hype tell us a quite different and demeaning story.
The MHRD notification has belied the Government’s loud and oft repeated rhetoric about improving higher education, about developing a knowledge society, and the like. What is touted as a hefty pay hike with all kinds of additional benefits is in fact a package to downgrade the teaching profession vis-à-vis other comparable professions (See comparison with IAS below). The aim of making the teaching profession able to attract talent has clearly been disregarded. Seen in the light of the major expansion of student-intake underway to incorporate reservation for OBCs, the Government has demonstrated how little it cares for the quality of education it wishes to provide to students.
During the last pay revision, the UGC had recommended scales for teachers right from entry through various stages which were one grade higher than the IAS and assured promotion till Professor’s grade to all teachers in colleges and universities with or without PhD, recognizing that teachers get severely downgraded otherwise. The Sixth CPC made the same arguments for school teachers (see quote below) and the Government was forced to accede. Unless the Government has some reason to believe that higher education is not facing a talent crunch, both the logic of the 1997 UGC recommendations and that of the Sixth CPC would have suggested a starting salary with at least a GP of 6600 in PB3.
The Sixth CPC upgraded pay scales of some categories including school teachers:
“The Commission has also taken a conscious decision to upgrade the pay scales of teachers … This, again, is a conscious decision because in the opinion of the Commission, the role of teachers is very important and a higher incentive needs to be extended to this category.’ …
Teachers are critical as they are an investment for the future of the country. To ensure that best available talent enters the Government in these fields and continues to feel motivated to give their best after joining, the Commission has consciously recommended higher entry level pay scales … The Commission is fully aware that these upgradations may upset some relativities, real or perceived, but the recommendations for these upgradations have been made as the same were considered necessary to ensure a better delivery system at the focal points of good governance.” [pg.208]
Downgrading the Profession
Despite all its shortcomings, the PRC could not ignore this reality and had recommended a GP 6600 along with advance increments for PhD/MPhil/NET. Grade I PGT Teachers, Vice-Principals of schools and Lecturers were on par before pay revision. Now all school teachers have been upgraded, and Grade I PGT Teachers and Vice-Principals of schools are placed at GP 6600. The Government has reduced the GP of teachers to 6000 and denied them advance increments recommended by the PRC. This severely downgrades college and university teachers.
- After 6 yrs of service (5 yrs / 4 yrs with Phd/MPhil) a teacher was entitled to Senior Scale, the equivalent of a School Principal. School Principals have been placed at GP 7600. Assistant Professors have been downgraded to GP 7000.
- After 5 more years, a teacher became Reader / Associate Professor / Lecturer in Selection Grade. All such teachers should have been placed in PB4. Instead, the Government has delayed the promotion to Associate Professor by three more years.
- Now a teacher can become Associate Professor only after 14 years of service (13 yrs / 12 yrs with PhD/MPhil). This may be even longer since the notification does not mention counting of total years of service for promotion. This delay may mean additional conditionalities. It would also lead to an illegal system of dual emoluments.
- In the notification, each upward movement to 7000, 8000, 9000 is subject to conditionalities to be laid down by the UGC. This may entail more stringent conditions for a teacher to become Associate Professor.
- The delay in promotion would lead to a system of dual emoluments between directly recruited and promoted Associate Professors. While all directly recruited Associate Professors are to be placed in PB4 with GP 9000, promoted Associate Professors have to wait for three years. A teacher who is senior may draw less pay than a junior one. The only way to avoid this is to continue 11/10/9 years as eligibility for promotion and redesignate all existing Readers / Lecturers in Selection Grade as Associate Professor at GP 9000.
- The notification distinguishes between Readers / Lecturers in Selection Grade and Associate Professors though these positions are equivalent. This distinction could lead to interuniversity disparities with existing Readers placed at a lower GP for three years than similarly placed Associate Professors.
- The Government has denied college teachers the assured promotion to Professor’s grade. The UGC had recommended it in 1997, the Government had introduced it in colleges for those with PhD and promised an equivalent grade for those without PhD. It was only later that it was withdrawn.
- This time the MHRD notification talks only about creation of a few posts of Professors in each college, a maximum of one per department (Similar provisions in earlier pay revisions were never implemented). One-fourth of these would be earmarked for direct recruitment and three-fourths for selection from among the teachers of each concerned department at the discretion of the administration. This will only reward sycophancy and penalise dissent.
- Professors have been placed at GP 10000, a downgradation from the PRC recommendation of 11000. The Government is unable to break free from the bureaucratic mindset of keeping everyone else below the IAS.
- 10% of posts of Professors would be at GP of 12000. They would be filled through direct recruitment and allow the administration to play favourites.
- Librarians have been denied parity with teachers in age of retirement. Further, unlike Associate Professors, directly recruited Deputy Librarians would be placed at a lower GP of 8000 in PB3.
- The Sixth CPC set different floor Pays in each PB for each GP. All existing IAS officers were fixed above this minimum Pay for the GPs. The MHRD notification only specifies the minimum Pay for the GPs of 10000 and 12000 and makes no such mention for the GPs of 6000, 7000, 8000 and 9000. The renaming of Grade Pay as Academic Grade Pay (AGP) gives rise to the apprehension that while minimum Pay increases with higher GPs, in the case of AGPs it will not increase but will remain at the minimum of the concerned PB, except for the AGPs of 10000 and 12000. The much touted higher entry of 6000 AGP would then be reduced to an extra Rs. 600 in basic pay over that of GP 5400.
- The option to switch from CPF to GPF has been turned down as has been the shifting of teachers who joined after 1.1.2004 from the “new pension scheme” to the assured pension scheme.
- The MHRD notification insists on PhD in “the relevant discipline” for advance increments and promotion. A Government that mouths “fancy” phrases such as interdisciplinarity should know that insistence on “the relevant discipline” is academically disastrous.
- The grant of Academic Allowance has been rejected. The grant for Research Promotion of Rs. 5 lakhs / Rs. 2 lakhs has been referred back to the UGC without mentioning these amounts. The intention may be to give a token amount, if at all.
- Release of promotional benefits of the last pay revision w.e.f. 1.1.96 has been rejected. Instead, the UGC has been asked to examine “anomalies” of the last pay revision.
Comparison of Career Progression of IAS and Teachers (without MPhil / PhD)
- Upward movement in the IAS is much faster.
- The IAS enter PB4 one year before teachers.
- They all go up to 10000 GP whereas all college teachers will stop at 9000 GP.
- They receive 2 additional and compounded increments with each of the first three promotions whereas no such increments are available to teachers.
|Yrs. of Service||IAS||Teachers|
|Entry||5400 GP||6000 GP|
|4 yrs||6600 GP + 2 I(A)||6000 GP + 4 I(Y)|
|6yrs||6600 GP + 2 I(A) + 2 I(Y)||7000 GP|
|9 yrs||7600 GP + 2 I(A)||7000 GP + 3 I(Y)|
|11 yrs||7600 GP + 2 I(A) + 2 I(Y)||8000 GP|
|13 yrs||8700 GP (PB4) + 2 I(A)||8000 GP + 2 I(Y)|
|14 yrs||8700 GP + 2 I(A) + 1 I(Y)||9000 GP (PB4)|
|16 yrs||10000 GP||No further promotion|
I(Y): Yearly Increments I(A): Additional Increments
Comparison of Career Progression of IAS and Teachers with PhD who become Professors
- There is a cumulative career differential in basic pay of approximately Rs.47.5 lakhs between the IAS cadre and a teacher who enters the profession with a PhD and also becomes Professor.
- This advantage of the IAS cadre becomes magnified when major allowances based on basic pay such as HRA and DA are taken into account.
- There is, therefore, no parity whatsoever between the IAS and teachers.
- Age of entry into profession for teachers assumed to be 30 years with PhD while the age of superannuation is assumed to be 60 years. The age of entry for the IAS cadre assumed to be 25 years.
- Teachers get their promotion to Professorship.
- No stagnation increments for teachers or the IAS.
The DTF calls upon teachers to be vigilant about attempts to divide or demobilise with arguments that nothing better is possible or desirable. The DUTA Executive that met on 3 January witnessed such arguments. The DUTA President and other AAD members claimed that the notification was “historic”, the only task being to approach the UGC for correction of anomalies and less stringent conditionalities. They denied that teachers have been downgraded vis-à-vis the IAS. The DUTA President agreed only after severe criticism to constitute a committee to formulate demands for revisions in the MHRD notification and for redressal of anomalies and conditionalities. Despite repeated requests, he refused to fix a date for the DUTA GBM. He has not sent any representation to the Government nor DUTA’s criticism to the Press. And we are told that at the meeting with the UGC Chairman on 4 January, he brushed aside attempts by another FEDCUTA office-bearer to critique the increase in number of years for promotion to Associate Professor. All this gives rise to apprehensions about his intentions. Unfortunately, he wants to present the achievement of the demand for PB4 for those in the Reader’s grade as reason enough to forget all other demands. Can the teaching community afford to forget them?
We urge the DUTA leadership to rethink and earnestly pursue the demands to redress the downgrading of the teaching profession instead of making teachers feel small by saying that they should not dream of getting anything better. We are faced with a challenge that concerns not just all sections of existing teachers, junior and senior, but the future of the teaching profession and of higher education.
Reaction of AIFUCTO
As opposed to the dubious role of the DUTA leadership, the AIFUCTO has made a comprehensive critique and submitted its demands to the MHRD. While appreciating the placing of Readers / Selection Grade Lecturers in PB4 with 9000 GP, the AIFUCTO has threatened agitation including indefinite strike unless its demands are considered. These demands include:
(a) 100% Central Assistance to States for implementing Pay Revision; (b) redesignation of all Lecturers in Selection Grade / Readers as Associate Professors with GP 9000; (c) entry at GP 6600 and unconditional movement to 7200 in 3/4/5 yrs, to 8000 in 3 years and to 9000 in 3 years (i.e. movement to PB4 with GP 9000 in 9/10/11 years for PhD, MPhil and NET ); (d) removal of the disparity between college teachers and university teachers and of the privileging of research over teaching and extension and allowing all teachers, college or university, with PhD or without, to move up to GP 12000; (e) parity of teachers and librarians; (f) rejection of quota based promotion; (g) removal of the stipulation of PhD in “the relevant discipline”; (h) appropriate pay for part-time teachers, tutors, demonstrators, etc; (i) promotional benefits of last pay revision from 1.1.96; (j) triple benefits of PF, Gratuity and Pension to all new teachers and conversion from CPF to GPF. (See http://aifucto.org/aifucto_rep_to_mhrd_jan09.htm)