As the IIT professors resorted to the unprecedented step of day-long hunger strike on Thursday over pay issue, HRD minister Kapil Sibal said he is open to any kind of dialogue with them to discuss their demands but ruled out world class salaries due to lack of resources.

“We will be too happy to discuss anything... I am ready to give them any autonomy they want,” Mr. Sibal told PTI in an interview when asked to comment on the strike undertaken by around 1500 teachers of the premier educational institutes.

He contended that he believed in dialogue but made it clear that he was upset by the “ultimatum” of October 1 set by the protesting faculty to address their grievances.

Mr. Sibal said the government would not interfere in the affairs of IITs but that too much of luxury in terms of salaries would not be allowed.

India has to work under “some constraints” and it cannot afford the same kind of freedom or salaries which other developed countries like the US can afford, the minister said.

“America is a four Trillion Dollar economy with 280 million people. It can afford to have the kind of quality private universities it has and give kind of freedom, money, salary that is given there.

“But if you look at my budget, it is insufficient to meet the needs of a knowledge society....We must understand each other, the constraints of the government.....We need to get together to work the system out,” he said.

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