Kolkata: Faculty members of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) on Monday demanded that their pay be linked to performance and entry level salary raised by at least 45%.
“At a time when private engineering colleges are offering much higher salaries, it would be very difficult to attract young talent unless salaries are raised,” said M. Thenmozhi, a professor of management studies at IIT Madras and president of the All India IIT Faculty Federation.
The federation has been protesting a new pay structure for Centrally funded technical institutes—which includes the IITs and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs)—that has been notified by the human resource development (HRD) ministry, which oversees these premier institutions.
Representatives of the grouping, who met in Kolkata and prepared a charter of demands related to pay, said that some 3,000 teachers in IITs across the country would observe a hunger strike on 24 September, which they clarified will not disturb the holding of regular classes.
The federation has demanded that entry level salary be raised to Rs38,000 a month from Rs26,000. It has also said that pay of faculty should be linked to performance to the extent of 20-40% of basic salary.
In a related development, Press Trust of India reported that IIM Ahmedabad’s board of directors will meet on 25 September to discuss the implementation of the new pay structure along the lines of the Sixth Pay Commission, which has been opposed by faculty members. A spokeswoman for the institute declined to confirm the agenda of the board meeting.
The IIT teachers’ federation said in Kolkata that it would place their demands with the HRD ministry on Tuesday and expects a settlement on pay revision by the end of this month, failing which it would intensify its protests.
The teachers are also opposing a rule that stipulates only 10% of the faculty of an IIT could be hired as assistant professors. Under the current norms, assistant professors are hired on contract and offered permanent jobs only on completion of three years of service. Teachers say they should be offered permanent jobs from the beginning.
They are also opposed to the government’s stipulation that an IIT could only hire people as professors if they have taught at an IIT, IIM or Indian Institute of Science for at least four years.
“We do not accept the ministry’s interference in selection policies,” the All India IIT Faculty Federation said in a statement. “Specifying things such as one should be an assistant professor for at least four years… to be considered for the post of a professor is absolutely unacceptable.”
The teachers are also opposing a 40% cap on professors drawing the highest academic grade pay (AGP) of Rs12,000 a month. Only professors with six years of experience are entitled to AGP of Rs12,000 a month. Currently, AGP for associate professors and professors with less than six years of experience is Rs9,500 and Rs10,500, respectively.
The faculty wants the cap removed and say the entitlement to monthly AGP of Rs12,000 should be decided only on merit. Those who meet stringent criteria for advancing to higher AGP should be given higher pay. There shouldn’t be any cap on such promotion, the federation said.
Even students, some teachers claimed, were supporting their demands. “Many students have been voicing their concerns through blogs,” said Sanjoy Ghosh, a professor of biotechnology at IIT Roorkee.
Aparna Kalra in New Delhi and PTI contributed to this story.