Special Correspondent

Minister unveils many plans

Over 2,000 posts to be filled

Subbarami Reddy for retirement age at 62

VISAKHAPATNAM: Asserting that his Government was committed to making the State ‘Vidyaandhra Pradesh’, Minister for Higher Education R. Chenga Reddy on Saturday announced a number of initiatives including the proposals to open 58 degree colleges and 40 junior colleges in 2008-09, a number of polytechnics, setting up of one university in every district, a law university in Visakhapatnam on the lines of NALSAR, sanctioning of three medical colleges etc.

Addressing a meeting after inauguration of Visakha Academicians Welfare Federation of T. Subbarami Reddy Seva Peetham at the VUDA Children’s Theatre here, the Minister said that steps had also been initiated to increase access to higher education by penetrating rural areas. Strengthening university education was a priority and the focus would be on employability, he said. Responding to the pleas of other speakers, the Minister said that the retirement age had been raised from 58 to 60 and reemployment opportunity was given after 60.The Government would soon take a decision on the demand for calculating pension at the age of 60. He said 700 posts at the university level and 1500 posts at the degree college level would be filled.

Rajya Sabha member and former Union Minister T. Subbarami Reddy, chairman of the federation who presided, advocated raising retirement age to 62 without any conditions. He wanted UGC scales to be made applicable to professors and other faculty. He promised to use his good offices to see to it that the additional burden was borne by the Centre. He wanted gratuity limit to be raised from Rs.1.5 lakhs to Rs.3 lakhs. The MP felt that academicians needed a forum to voice their demands and the federation was formed to cater to this.

Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University, Beela Satyanarayana, pointed to the flight of talent to IT sector because of attractive pay packages and wanted salaries of faculty to be raised to strengthen teaching department. As recommended by the UGC, the age of retirement should also be raised to 65. Mayor Pulusu Janardana Rao congratulated Dr. Subbarami Reddy for getting grants to the tune of Rs.1,500 crores.

Chief of Sarada Peetham Swaroopanandrendra Swamy mentioned the unique place that a teacher occupied in the Indian way of imparting education. He stressed the importance of character building rather than improving intellect. MLAs T. Gurumuthy Reddy and Gandi Babji participated. President of Federation M. Purnachandra Rao explained the objectives of the federation.