‘Immediate effect’ hits allowance for staff at autonomous outfits
The Centre has denied 19 months’ cumulative revised allowances to thousands of teachers and non-teaching staff in the IITs, IIMs and central universities, prompting cries of cheating and arbitrariness.
The Union human resource development ministry has issued notifications enabling the allowance hike for staff of autonomous institutions over one-and-a-half years after the 7th Pay Commission’s recommendations on allowances were implemented for other government employees.
The government increased basic salaries by 2.5 times with effect from January 1, 2016, and revised the house rent and travel allowances with effect from July 1, 2017.
While central government employees began receiving both the revised rates from the notified dates, the staff at autonomous institutions got only the increased basic pay on time, not the revised allowances. This had created two unofficial categories of employees — central government and those of autonomous bodies such as the IITs, IIMs and the central universities.
Although the HRA has been decreased to 24 per cent of the basic pay from 30 per cent, the salary in absolute figures is more because of the increased basic pay.
On Monday (January 28), the human resource development ministry issued an order enforcing the revised HRA for staff of central universities. Another such notification was issued for the IITs, NITs and the IIMs on Thursday. Both came into force with “immediate effect”.
“Immediate effect means the date on which the letter has been issued,” said an HRD ministry official, which means the staff will not get the benefits of the revised amount for the preceding 19 months.
A professor will lose out on Rs 25,000 a month for this period. An associate professor will lose around Rs 15,000 a month and an assistant professor Rs 10,000 a month. These institutions have around 25,000 teachers.
“This is cheating. The staff of autonomous bodies and the central government get revised allowances from the same day. The delay cannot be any justification for not paying arrears,” said Rajesh Jha, a member of the executive council of Delhi University.
He said the bigger fear was the distinction the government had made between central staff and those of autonomous institutions.
“Now they have denied the revised allowances for a limited period. The government can take more such steps for employees of autonomous bodies in the future,” Jha said.
An IIT Bombay faculty member said such a move did not sit well with the government’s claim of GDP growth of 7 per cent. “This is denial of rightful dues to teachers. If the government is saying the GDP growth is 7 per cent, why is it reluctant to pay them their dues?” he asked. An HRD ministry official claimed the finance ministry did not give the go-ahead for the revised allowances even though the file was sent two years ago.
“The finance ministry wanted information on the expected expenditure on account of the revision of allowances. All institutions were asked to send the information. Only last week, the finance ministry gave the approval,” the official said.
However, the finance ministry did not ask for ministry or department-wise data on possible expenditure when it revised the allowances of 48 lakh central government employees, official sources claimed.