Tuesday, December 23, 2008

UGC Pay : Notification likely in this week, Centre aborts elite faculty proposal.

The Centre has rejected a proposal to create an elite faculty post of professor of eminence in universities, mooted by a UGC panel as incentive to retain the country’s best teachers in Indian academics.

The government has also decided to snip the basic salary suggested by the UGC pay panel for vice-chancellors, under steps to balance promised salary hikes with “economic restraint”.

Officials termed the decisions a fallout of the economic crisis, coupled with the government’s greater focus on luring fresh talent into academics rather than pandering to the demands of senior faculty.

The Union cabinet last week approved the new pay regime, but details are being kept under wraps. Teachers’ unions that have been striking work against a delay in implementation of the panel’s recommendations called off their protests, but have urged the government to notify the new regime.

Sources said human resource development ministry officials met over the weekend to finalise details for an official notification of the new pay, expected to be published this week. Former Jawaharlal Nehru University vice-chancellor G.K. Chadha headed the UGC pay review panel.

In its recommendations, the panel suggested that the new post could be offered to the best 10 per cent of professors, based on their performance in class and in research. A university panel would have selected the elite faculty.

“The idea behind the post was to create a rung higher than that of professors for the best to aspire to. At present, professors stagnate and have no incentive to improve further,” a member of the Chadha panel said.

Unable to grow professionally, the best faculty often quit Indian academics in favour of either jobs in foreign universities or corporate jobs with better pay, the review committee member said.

The panel had recommended a basic monthly pay of Rs 80,000 to professors of eminence, more than twice the starting basic pay of Rs 37,400 at the professor grade it had proposed. The basic pay of professors can be raised up to Rs 67,000 a month, it said.

But the government rejected the proposal. “We already have schemes with similar aims to retain the best faculty. It is felt that a new post is unnecessary,” an official said.

The HRD ministry has a “faculty recharge scheme”. But the scheme is centrally controlled and, therefore, is limited in its scope and reach, the Chadha panel member said.

The review panel had suggested a Rs 80,000 basic pay for vice-chancellors but, at the insistence of the finance ministry, this has been reduced to Rs 75,000 a month. A special grant of Rs 5,000 will be provided to vice-chancellors in addition to the basic pay, sources said.

But the dearness allowance will be calculated only on the Rs 75,000 basic pay, effectively reducing the take-home salary.

Source : The Telegraph.

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