Wednesday, September 23, 2009

IIM, IIT faculty oppose HRD proposals on pay hike and autonomy

Professors of premier Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are up in arms and have come together for the first time to reject the latest proposals of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on pay scales and autonomy, describing them as "infringement" on academic freedom. The faculties of IITs and IIMs are working on a joint charter of demands to be handed to HRD minister Kapil Sibal that includes better hikes and more autonomy. "It is for the first time that IIT professors and IIM professors are sitting down together to discuss what is there in the Sixth Pay Commission and how it is affecting us," said Bharat Sheth, a professor at IIT-Mumbai. The IIM-A faculty council has already met in Ahmedabad on Saturday and opposed the HRD ministry's order on pay structure and asked the institute director to delay its implementation by a month, before future course of action is decided by them.

"The faculty council has termed the recent Union HRD ministry orders on pay structure as infringement on academic freedom and has asked the institute director to postpone its implementation by a month," a senior faculty council member and IIM-A professor said after the council's meeting, voicing disappointment. The council voiced its disappointed at the response of the MHRD to the memorandum, seeking a pay hike that IIM and IIT professors had earlier submitted to the ministry. IIM-A also decided to take up the issue with other IIMs and IITs and premier institutions like the IISc, Bangalore.

Dr Sheth said the issue was not of money and pay, but autonomy, flexibility and hiring. "Other institutions like the NITs and IISc are also affected and we are having discussions with them also,"he said. Sheth said the unhappiness in the prestigious Centrally Funded Technical Institutions (CFTIs) stems from the fact that the MHRD is trying to micromanage these institutions. The ministry's plans are going to be "very detrimental" to the future of these institutions, he said.

The MHRD has recently come out with a fresh notification on the pay structure of CFTIs, which said the post of lecturer-cum-post-doctoral fellows will be re-designated as assistant professor. They will be appointed on contract basis, it stated. The government also put 40% cap on promotion of professor to senior grade on the basis of performance, which led to wide resentment amongst the IIM-A faculty. "The notification that prescribes limit to the number of professors (40%) that can exist as a proportion of the professors in the institute drawing highest grade pay is totally uncalled for," a senior faculty council member said. "Promotion of the professors should be based only on academic merit. It should be regardless of how many professors already exists in any pay grade," the member said, adding, the new order also imposes a cap on the number of domestic and international conferences a professor can attend during a year.

Source: Financial Express / PTI

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