Many yet to receive cash awards for 25 years of unblemished service

Government school teachers are missing out on incentive schemes aimed at rewarding long years of service simply because they are unaware of them.

The Indira Vikas Patra (IVP) was issued by the State government back in 1996 as an incentive for employees who had completed 25 years of service. A savings scheme started by the Department of Posts, the IVP was available in the denomination of Rs. 1,000.The government bought it at Rs. 500, half the face value.

Employees who had obtained the IVP could redeem them for their face value after a specified term, initially fixed at five years. When the postal department discontinued the IVP in 2001, the State government began to issue the Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) to its employees. In December 2011, the KVP too was scrapped, whereupon the government switched to offering cash awards.

A government order was issued on November 7, 2012 stating that those who had rendered 25 years of unblemished service would be given a cash award of Rs.2,000, along with a certificate issued on behalf of the government recognizing their services. The order was applicable to teaching as well as non-teaching staff of local bodies and government aided private educational institutions.

However, S. James Lourduraj, assistant headmaster of a government aided higher secondary school here, who has put in 33 years of service, says that he was unaware of the existence of such a scheme until recently. “It is a laudable scheme that would serve as a great source of encouragement for teachers like me. But I am yet to benefit from it,” he says.

P. Saravana Murugan, Madurai district president of the Tamil Nadu Post Graduate Teachers Association, insists that the government should ease the cumbersome process involved in granting cash awards. “It would be better if the appointing authorities are given the powers to sanction the amount on verification of the Teachers Service Register rather than routing the matter through the Education Department,” he points out.

There are also misconceptions about the scheme. Some teachers think that cash awards are given only to those who have served in the same post, without a promotion, for the duration of 25 years. “Mostly, teachers of government aided schools alone would serve in the same posts for long,” says S. Baskaran, Madurai district secretary of the High School Headmasters Association.

Dispelling such notions, R. Balasubramanian, general secretary, Tamil Nadu Government Employees Association, says that government servants are eligible for cash awards irrespective of promotions earned during their service. “It is true that most of the teachers are unaware of the government benefits applicable to them. Many teachers do not even avail the Leave Travel Concession granted to all government servants. Even if some of them apply for it, the education department rejects their applications citing unavailability of funds. Teachers’ associations must take the lead in educating their members about their entitlements,” he observes.