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Photo: HT
Photo: HT

Govt allows central universities to resume recruitment

  • While financial outgo was seen as the primary reason behind the previous directive, authorities now believe regular hiring against existing posts should continue

NEW DELHI : The Union ministry of human resource development (HRD) has allowed central universities to resume hiring, just weeks after directing them to suspend recruitment drives.

The primary reason behind the suspension of recruitment was financial outgo. However, authorities believe regular hiring against existing posts in central universities should continue, particularly at a time Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stressed on education reform and against the backdrop of the need to effectively implement the new National Education Policy (NEP).

Some vice-chancellors also wanted to fill up vacancies, according to an official document seen by Mint, and a government official who spoke requesting anonymity.

“The decision has been reviewed on the basis of the representation from vice-chancellors and it has now been decided to allow the recruitment process to continue," said a HRD ministry communication to vice-chancellors.

The ministry further directed the universities to “maintain full transparency in recruitment process" and “all eligible candidates participating in the process to be given fair and equal opportunity". However, the letter did not specify what specify what “full transparency" entails.

In the last week of August, the HRD ministry had asked central universities to suspend hiring activities till the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus is lifted. The letter had not clarified the reason behind the hiring freeze directive, authorities had cited the need to lower expenses when the economy is facing a tough time as the primary reason.

The government is facing a severe revenue crunch with the economy contracting 23.9% in the June quarter. India’s fiscal deficit breached the full-year target in the first four months of the financial year, as the government stepped up spending to combat the covid-19 fallout.

The finance ministry earlier this month had urged all departments and ministries to reduce spending because of pressure on government resources.

“We are not creating new posts, we are filling up the existing vacancies in central universities. Hence, there is no violation of the finance ministry directive," said the government official cited above.

Indian universities are facing a staff crunch of 20%-35%. At present, there are a total of 177,235 sanctioned teaching posts and 3,69,587 sanctioned non-teaching posts in various universities, including central universities across the country. Of this, 32,581 teaching posts and 93,696 non-teaching posts are vacant, the ministry informed the Lok Sabha in February.

In central universities alone, there are 18,243 sanctioned teaching posts and 34,928 sanctioned non-teaching posts, of which 6,688 teaching posts and 12,323 non-teaching posts were vacant as on 10 February, according to data presented in the Lok Sabha.

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