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IIT faculty: why the cap on promotion?

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IIT professors observing a hunger strike on the issue of pay structure on the IIT campus in Delhi on Thursday.
IIT professors observing a hunger strike on the issue of pay structure on the IIT campus in Delhi on Thursday.

Parul Sharma

NEW DELHI: More than 300 faculty members and scientific staff members of the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi observed a day-long fast here on Thursday protesting against some clauses in the pay package offered to them.

However, the faculty claimed that classes were not disrupted.

The “Save IIT Fast” was observed to urge the Union Human Resource Development Ministry to present a pay package that would attract faculty members and ensure autonomy and flexibility to the IIT system.

“As per the Ministry’s notification, only 40 per cent of professors can be promoted to the senior grade. We can’t accept this cap since we believe that all our professors are competent. We have never had such a cap in the system. Then why have it now,” asked Sanjeev Sanghi, vice-president of the IIT-Delhi Faculty Forum.

The faculty have proposed setting up a three-member “impartial” committee comprising an IIT alumnus, an industry expert familiar with the functioning of the IIT system and an academician, to look into their demands.

“Several positions in the old IITs are vacant. We are unable to attract faculty because we do not have a decent pay package. After passing out, an IIT student gets a minimum of Rs. 6 lakh per annum. That’s more than an assistant professor’s salary,” forum president S.S. Murthy, said addressing his colleagues on the campus.

“Why are we being compared with the UGC? Our competition is with industry. Some performance-related incentive scheme should be implemented at the earliest.”

Professor Murthy sought to play down any difference of opinion on this issue between the faculty and directors of the IITs.

“There is no disagreement. All of us want the IITs to flourish.”

The faculty members said they planned to engage the alumni in this process soon.

“The government created the Govardhan Mehta Committee to look into our pay package. It should have at least respected its own committee. It has diluted that committee’s recommendations. There are some fundamental problems that need to be investigated why the IIT system is collapsing. They should not denigrate us by saying we are acting like trade unions. We are carrying out our protest in a very dignified manner,” said Prof. Murthy.

The faculty members also spoke about implementation of post-retirement medical facilities.

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