Fifty years since its inception as a collective and representative body, the DUTA is fighting its most decisive battles against a policy framework that openly seeks to hand over public-owned universities, colleges and educational resources to private hands. Ad hoc teachers are anxiously waiting to be regularised through permanent appointments under order of the High Court. A whole generation of teachers appointed after 2000 have been denied promotions. Teachers who have put in 35-40 years of service have been forced to retire without pensions. A long overdue Pay Revision is yet to materialise but it is evident that the Government has decided to restrict the effective raise to a mere 14.2% and slash allowances. Why is all this happening?
The NITI Aayog’s Recipe for Disaster
Education Policy is currently being dictated by the NITI Aayog, whose CEO recently proclaimed that Govt should “hand over schools, colleges, jails to the private sector”. Its Draft Action Plan is being pushed through various UGC Regulations (2.6.2017). The Draft on Graded Autonomy defines three categories of universities based on NAAC scores and NIRF rank. Category 1 universities have to switch to self-financed courses and research, introduce differential pay for teachers, hire 20% foreign faculty and admit 20% foreign students beyond domestic student intake. Category 2 has to focus on employment based education. Category 3 would be left to provide poor quality mass education or face closure. All this is based on a crucial policy shift from inputs (i.e. funding for teachers, infrastructure, etc) to outputs (assessment, ranking, performance).
Universities and colleges are already receiving letters from the Finance Ministry to generate 30% of costs including teachers’ salaries and allowances. The HRD Minister’s speech at DDU recently made clear that grants for infrastructure would be replaced by loans, student feedback linked to promotion, ‘Hire and Fire’ to appointments and ‘underperforming’ institutions would be closed down.
Negative Role of DU Administration
Despite the Court’s strict time-frame for compliance, the process of permanent appointments is being delayed or compromised at every crucial step. The unwillingness to adhere to DoPT norms on Reservation has been coupled with the move to keep Physical Education teachers out of the Rosters and then inordinate delays in approving the Rosters. The constitution of governing bodies has been held up (with the connivance of NDTF and AAD) and appointment of regular principals has not begun. The unwillingness to lay down objective criteria for awarding marks for academic record and domain knowledge has left the field open for arbitrariness by selection committees – in the first round of appointments in June, candidates in the OBC category were declared ‘Not Found Suitable’.
The DU Administration has been deaf to the denial of promotion to thousands of teachers and forced them to go to Court. It has surrendered to the MHRD directive to appeal against the positive Court order on pensions.
Misleading Solutions of NDTF & AAD
The NDTF (BJP) and AAD (Congress) preach false and misleading solutions to these problems that seek to undermine the DUTA’s collective struggles. The AAD’s solitary slogan of absorption on ‘as-is-where-is’ basis diverts attention from the demands of regularisation of long-serving ad hoc and temporary teachers and rotation of experts on selection committees.
The NDTF poses as a broker of the Government; it wants teachers to believe that our problems can be resolved through its proximity to the ruling party as long as we ignore the larger policy assault. But it has been unable to change, or even soften, any of the Government’s anti-teacher measures. It could not persuade the MHRD to withdraw the completely irrational retrospective implementation of API imposed by the previous VC. Nor could it stop the MHRD from directing the University to appeal against the Court order on pensions.
In May-June 2016 the DUTA succeeded in fighting back the draconian UGC 3rd Amendment which was meant to drastically reduce posts for permanent faculty. The High Court ordered a time-bound process of permanent appointments. The MHRD, UGC and DU Administration were forced to fall in line. We must ensure that appointments are held without any further delay before the next policy assault.
The DTF has demanded a transparent and objective weightage formula so that selection committees do not have arbitrary powers. Subject experts on selection committees must be rotated to reduce the scope for manipulation. DTF members in the AC and EC were able to ensure that temporary and ad hoc teaching experience is counted for up to 20 points as part of Domain Knowledge. All applicants who have taught for at least a semester must be called for the interview.
Reservation and the Roster
The DUTA’s clear stand against the deviation from DoPT norms for implementing the Roster was upheld by the Parliamentary Standing Committee and now also by the Kale Committee Report. Deliberate delay tactics by the DU Administration resulted in late submission of the Report. The faulty modalities of EC Resolution No. 64 apply the replacement principle without meeting the required reservation percentages, distribute Reservation unevenly across subjects and refuse to calculate Backlog for SC/ST from 1997 and OBC from 2007.
More recently, inordinate delays in approving Rosters and recasting them even in violation of the modalities in EC Resolution No 64 have added to the woes of ad hoc teachers of all categories and delayed advertisements of permanent posts. DUTA President Nandita Narain has had to repeatedly intervene to stop such unjustified recasting.
Promotions and API
Despite several representations by the DUTA to the VC and the MHRD, retrospective implementation of API has not been reversed compelling some teachers to file an appeal in the High Court with DUTA support. In the recent CAS interview in university departments the dates of promotion have been arbitrarily fixed later than the dates of eligibility. The Government and DU Administration are working in tandem to make promotions impossible for most teachers – yet another way to cut costs on teachers.
The DUTA has made a strong case with the Pay Review Committee against promotion based on API in the future as also to repeal its mandatory application from 2008, allowing teachers to be promoted under MPS 1998 till a new scheme is put in place. The DTF is committed to all modes of struggle if these demands are not met.
The Government’s denial of the Right to Pension, despite the favourable DB Judgement of the High Court for all categories, is cruel and inhuman. The only relief so far is the release of pensions for a few litigants in Category 3. Of the 2469 employees placed in GPF by the University through options offered from 1987 to 1998, those who retired after June 2014 were denied pension at the behest of the previous VC. Neither the Court nor the MHRD/UGC have passed any order against payment of pension to them. Yet, the present VC has taken no action to have their pensions released.
The DUTA’s Pension Committee has worked ceaselessly to bring pressure on the Government, Visitor, PMO and DU Administration to ensure that all categories get pensions as per the erstwhile GPF policy. The MHRD directive to DU to file an SLP against the High Court Judgement is an attack on the livelihood of teachers as well as the autonomy of the University. The DUTA has provided financial support to the teachers’ legal defence.
Delay in Pay Revision: The Missing Report
Though the VII Pay Commission was set up for Central Government employees on 29.06.2016, revised allow-ances were notified only on 28.06.2017 – a full one year later, entailing a loss of these allowances for more than one and half years. The delay adds to the regressive policies of the VII Pay Revision which are as follows:
- The hike in the basic pay is the lowest in the history of independent India, a mere 14.2% instead of the standard increase of 40% in the last two pay revisions.
- HRA has been reduced from 30% to 24%.
- Transport Allowance (TA) has not been revised at all. In fact, revised TA will be less than the pre-revised TA at least for the first two years.
- Women availing Child Care Leave will get only 80% of total emoluments in the second year of leave.
Under pressure from DUTA, FEDCUTA and AIFUCTO, the UGC Pay Review Committee submitted its report on 22.02.2017. However, despite various representations to make it public for discussion and suggestions from the stakeholders, the report has not been disclosed. This raises serious apprehensions about the possible negative recommendations both in pay structure and service conditions of teachers.
Meanwhile, the MHRD issued an Office Memorandum on 13.01.2017 that it will bear only 70% of the total expenditure for pay revision; Colleges and Universities have to generate the remaining 30% on their own.
The DUTA subcommittee had prepared a comprehensive document which was adopted by FEDCUTA. The FEDCUTA delegation, led by President Nandita Narain, submitted the same memorandum to the UGC Pay Review Committee on 23.09.2016 and made a detailed presentation on all the issues – anomalies of the last pay revision, pay structure, promotion scheme, counting of past services, academic and other allowances, medical facilities, leave rules etc.
The DTF will continue to fight for parity with All India Services in the Central Government throughout the entire career, and not merely at the entry level, with the following demands:
- Resolution of anomalies of the last Pay Revision including minimum pay in PB 3 for pre-revised AGP 7000 and stepping up of pay.
- A separate Pay Matrix for teachers, higher at every level and customized for the specific needs of the teaching profession.
- Higher Minimum Pay at every level and a Higher Fitment Factor for incumbent teachers for pay fixation.
- Entry Pay for teachers at pre-revised AGP 7000 to compensate higher qualifications and late entry.
- Time bound and assured three promotions for all teachers till Professorship/ Professor’s Grade to mitigate stagnation and ensure a steady career progression.
- Scrapping of API w.e.f 31.12.2008 and formulation of a new, enabling promotion scheme for all teachers.
- Placement of all incumbent Associate Professors with 3 years experience at the appropriate stage of the Professor’s level.
- Promotion of all incumbent Professors with 6 years experience to Senior Professor.
- Parity of Librarians with teachers in qualifications, recruitment, promotion and age of retirement.
- Parity of Instructors, Programmers and other Academic staff with teachers.
- The Second Tranche of OBC expansion posts for teachers must be released immediately to meet rising workloads.
- The decision of 17.08.2013 under the previous VC to club Librarians with AOs in the non-teaching roster must be reversed since they are non-vacation academic staff with a higher AGP of 6000 and hence cannot be downgraded to the level of AO. This anomaly needs to be corrected immediately.
- The Chandrasekhar Rao Committee report, which was drafted in 2000-02 owing to DUTA’s consistent demand, must be implemented to ensure a comprehensive parity of Librarians with teachers.
- Instructors’ parity with regular teachers of other subjects must be restored.
- Because of DUTA’s struggle, DU notified that Physical Education Teachers should be included in the teaching Roster. Compliance has to be ensured in all colleges.
- Maternity Leave must be granted to ad hoc teachers and Ex-Gratia salary provision must be restored.
- Determination of Seniority after implementation of Reservation is no longer clear under the existing guidelines. The University must devise fresh rules.
- E-Tendering issues like cap affecting research, especially in the Sciences, must be resolved.
- WUS facilities need to be improved with restoration of full-reimbursement scheme at CGHS rates and revival of cashless hospitalisation in member hospitals.
- The Code of Conduct imposed by the previous VC impinges on academic freedom and the democratic rights of teachers. It must be withdrawn.
- Denial of Leave is becoming arbitrary and a source of harassment. Lack of adequate permanent faculty has aggravated the problem.
- Housing facilities must be expanded and the process of allocation transparent and expeditious.
- Conversion of Dyal Singh (Evening) College to a full-fledged Day College should only be done after adequate, inclusive consultations with teachers of both colleges. Otherwise, sharing the same premises would lead to overcrowding and contention in use of common spaces and facilities.
- The School of Journalism should only start to function with a regular Core Faculty. An entire faculty of Guest Teachers is unacceptable.
- Reducing workload of Language departments in CBCS is a matter of concern. The University must preserve workloads and promote the study of languages across curricula.
- CBCS has failed to give students adequate choices due to faculty and infra-structure shortage. The Semester System is a failure too. Academic Restructuring done in recent years must be objectively reviewed.
- Retrospective implementation of two publications for promotion of teachers in UCMS and VPCI must be done away with to ensure the benefit of promotion to all through DACP.
- Recognition of teachers in medical colleges like LHMC, MAMC, UCMS and NSIT must be expedited immediately by the University without any delay.
How do we fight this assault?
In the last fifty years, the DUTA has been at the helm of struggles that have benefitted teachers across the nation and held back the Govt’s drive towards privatisation. With the Government pursuing privati-sation more aggressively than ever before, these struggles have become far more difficult. Protracted adhocism, frequent changes in course structures through diktats from the UGC/MHRD and the DU administration, ever more administrative and clerical work and the resort to authoritarian and ‘divide and rule’ measures, and even violence, to break unions and quell resistance and questioning – both within and outside the University – have created an environment hostile to mass struggles.
In this context, the DUTA’s historic struggle in May-June 2016 showed once again what the strength of collective struggle can achieve. Not only was the Government forced to withdraw its draconian workload norms, but the High Court was prompted to intervene in public interest and force the DU Administration to begin the process of permanent appointments.
The history of the DUTA’s many struggles shows us that our only weapon is collective and principled struggle, the only weapon that could make Governments and University administrations bend. It is this legacy that has been upheld and defended by the DTF. We appeal to teachers to give a decisive victory in the elections on 31 August to the entire DTF team led by Rajib Ray.
Polling on 31 August (Thursday), 10 am to 5 pm
Dept. of Philosophy
as DUTA President