14 Sep :Let me welcome you all this afternoon to this press conference on behalf of the Pay Review Committee that, as you are well aware, has been constituted by the University Grants Commission to review the pay scales and other issues of service and working conditions of university and college teachers in the country.I wish to share with you and through you with my lakhs of university and college teacher colleagues spread in various parts of the country—some really remote and far flung— the progress of the functioning of the Pay Review Committee, particularly the range of issues on which the Committee has been dilating with a view to giving the teachers a very ‘decent deal’.
As you are aware, the Pay Review Committee was appointed in the larger context of the VI Central Pay Commission appointed by the Government of India for recommending the revised scales of pay for central government employees.
Now that the recommendations of the VI Central Pay Commission have finally been accepted and notified by the Government of India, the concern of the university and college teachers about the recommendation of our Pay Review Committee and their implementation is quite understandable and the Pay Review Committee is quite conscious of this concern.
The Pay Review Committee, however, also knows that it is only on August 29th and 30th, 2008 that is only about two weeks ago that the final recommendations of the VI Central Pay Commission as accepted by the Government of India became available. A large number of recommendations of Pay Review Committee, particularly those in relation to the revision of scales of pay and pension and other terminal benefits being dependent on those recommendations could not have been discussed and firmed up meaningfully before this.
The terms of Reference of our Pay Review Committee, thanks to the farsight of the University Grants Commission, for which the entire Pay Review Committee compliments the UGC, cover practically every single aspect of teachers service and working conditions ranging from pay and allowances to recruitment policy, opportunities for career advancement, availability of infrastructure and related facilities for teaching and research in university and colleges, special needs of women teachers and there work in rural and remote areas. Various kinds of leave facilities admissible to teachers, their academic accountability and the age of retirement and terminal benefits like pension, provident fund and gratuity.
In addition, the Pay Review Committee has also been asked to, look into the anomalies arising out of the implementation of the last Pay Review Committee and suggest redressal for these.
To identify these issues which related to over 200 universities and over 6000 colleges affiliated to the University Grants Commission was in itself a gigantic task and for this, the Pay Review Committee decided to use a multi pronged methodology that involved interacting with various stakeholders like the Professors, Readers, lecturers—particularly those who have been appointed recently—in both universities and colleges, the Directors of Physical Education, Librarians, Vice Chancellors and various teachers’ Associations and Federations. Also consulted were Eminent Educationists, Public Persons, Ministers of Education in various states and Educations Secretaries and Directors of Public Instruction.
Also, special questionnaires were devised—one for universities and another for colleges—which were sent to over 200 universities and 6000 colleges for eliciting information regarding diverse issues and the those general conditions relating to higher education that has a direct bearing on teachers’ service and working conditions.
The Pay Review Committee has also received nearly five hundred representations and memoranda from individuals, institutions and teachers’ associations and federations which too have been scrutinized carefully to know about the concerns and aspirations of the teaching community in universities and colleges.
Having done this—which as you can appreciate was a formidable task in itself—the Pay Review Committee has held a series of meetings—some lasting over several days-to discuss and arrive at a consensus about various issues. In fact, we have just finished one such significant meeting that started yesterday morning and I am glad to share with you the fact that the members of the Pay Review Committee present here with me this afternoon have arrived at significant decision about these issues that can be divided into the following broad categories:
? Revised structure of Pay and allowances for various categories of teachers, D.P.Es and Librarians
? Pension and other related benefits for social security of teachers, including the age of retirement and reemployment of teachers.
? The quantum of Central government financial assistance to states for implementing these recommendations of the Pay Review Committee
? A uniform date and manner of implementation of the recommendations throughout the country ? Recruitment policy and eligibility conditions for various categories of teachers and Principals of colleges.
? Opportunities for promotion under Career Advancement Scheme of both university and college teachers.
? Infrastructure and other support facilities for improving the quality of teaching and research.
? Teaching work load and academic accountability of teachers.
? Residual anomalies from the last Pay Review Committee and their redressal.
Each of these broad categories and many more issues were further subdivided into more focussed issues, including some of which are entirely new and innovative and are being considered for the first time to attract and retain talent in the field of higher education. Again these range from a better financial package to providing better academic environment for teaching and research.
1. Pay and Allowances
These include, among others–
(a) The possibilities of granting some additional incentives at the entry level, some kind of academic allowance or allowance for working in remote and inaccessible areas, etc.
(b) Questions relating to pay fixation and stagnation
2. Pension and other related benefits…
These include, among others—
(a) the question of invoking a uniform policy about the age of retirement and reemployment of teachers, to rid India’s higher education sector of the existing unhealthy inter regional disparities in this regard.
(b) Exploring the possibility of extending benefits like medical and general group insurance to all university and college teachers.
3. The Quantum of financial assistance…
These include the most crucial questions, among others—
a. How much assistance should the central government extend to states for a smooth implementation of the recommendations of the Pay Review Committee.
b. The period for which such assistance needs to be extended to the states.
c. Incentives that could be given to states for successful implementation of the entire package of recommendations of the Pay Review Committee.
4. The Date and manner of implementation…
The issues under this broad category include, among others—
(a) 01-01-2006 to be the date from which the recommendations of the Pay Review Committee should be implemented throughout the country.
(b) The manner in which it should be implemented so that benefits can be derived uniformally by all teachers without inter regional or inter- institutional deviations.
5. Recruitment policy…
The issues include, among others,
a) How to extend better financial and otherincentives to attract and retain better talent in the field of teaching in higher education, particularly at the entry level.
b) How new categories of teaching position need to be created to make the profession of teaching more attractive.
c) How and means can be devised to give a better financial deal to those who are working as contract teachers and guest faculty.
6. Opportunities for Career Advancement of teachers in both universities and colleges…
This is one of the most crucial issues before the Pay Review Committee. It includes, among others,
a) The manner in which the CAS can be made more teacher friendly especially in terms of creating more opportunities. The need for a third promotion for college teachers is engaging our attention in particular.
b) To look into the present conditions of eligibility and selection processes and suggest ways and means of making it more expeditions.
7. Infrastructure and other facilities…
This category of issues includes, among others,
a) examining the existing infrastructure and support facilities for teaching and research, particularly in colleges and recommendations for their upgradation.
b) To explore ways and means for providing some seed money to teachers both in universities and colleges for promoting research.
8. Teaching workload…
a) The issue of workload and academic accountability of teachers includes whether the classroom teaching load of teachers needs to be revisited
b) What kind of criteria need to be evolved for effective, transparent assessment of teachers’ work.
9. Anomalies from the previous…
One of the most challenging tasks before the Pay Review Committee has been to look at the anomalies of the previous Pay Review Committee and suggest redressal for some of most glaring ones. The total number of issues –some of them most crucial for the future of higher education and economic development of India –runs into no fewer than 100 odd issues. I am glad to say that a consensus on all issues has been reached in a series of meetings, including those held yesterday and today.
I can only say with utmost sincerity that the recommendations would give my fellow teachers more than what any rational thinker would call ‘a very decent’ deal.
This committee has deliberated on issues connected with higher education in a socio-economic and cultural milieu qualitatively so much different from what it was a decade ago, particularly in view of the demands of new global challenges in the higher education sector especially at the level of college education. It needs to be asserted that at the present juncture we have to think the best for the teaching profession vis-à-vis corporate sector and civil services. The committee is fully conscious of the criticality of time for the report to reach its final destination. That is why we have been working very hard to ensure that what is due to the teaching committee as a result of pay scales and improved working conditions should not come to them even a day later.