Faculty of the all the seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will observe a token fast on September 24, as they “find the revised order from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) dated September 16 completely unacceptable,” said M. Thenmozhi, president of the All-India IIT Faculty Federation here on Monday.

At a meeting, representatives of the faculty of the “existing” IITs, also decided to submit a memorandum to Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday, asking for a meeting between the Ministry, the directors of the IITs and the faculty members before October 1, Dr. Thenmozhi added.

She said the Federation would communicate with the faculty at the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) about the memorandum and the token fast, and ask them to join the protest.

“The faculty members at all IITs are quite unhappy with the revised notification. The issue is not just about a higher pay-scale,” she said. The faculty is primarily against the restrictions imposed upon premier institutes in an HRD Ministry notification.

These include curbs on recruitment (10 per cent of all faculty have to be hired at the level of “Assistant Professors on Contract”) and promotions (an assistant professor must have at least 4 years of experience at that level before being promoted to Professor).

“We are demanding a flexible cadre system that we have always had.” The Federation also wants the salary of faculty at the entry level to be higher than the proposed Rs. 30,000 and are opposed to hiring fresh PhDs only on a contract basis.

The IITs follow a rigorous procedure at the time of hiring and promotion, said Dr. Thenmozhi. When such is the case, why have regulations imposed upon the institutes?

Asked about the recent meeting directors of the institutes had with Mr. Sibal, where they had reportedly said the recommendations were acceptable, she said, “the directors have said that they are happy with the proposals, but we are not happy.”

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