: Guest lecturers in Tamil Nadu have welcomed the announcement by the Punjab government to raise the salary of their counterparts in deference to the directive issued by UGC to the States for compliance with Seventh Pay Commission matrix.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has been quoted in media reports announcing increase in pay scale for guest faculties working for 18 to 20 years, as a Teachers’ Day gift.
Lauding the AAP government in Punjab and Delhi for fulfilling UGC’s directive, the president of Tamil Nadu All Government Colleges UGC Qualified Guest Lecturers Association V. Thangaraj regretted that in Tamil Nadu, the guest lecturers were not paid even the Sixth Pay Commission recommendation that fixed their monthly salary as ₹25,000 twelve years back.
In 2019, the UGC had revised the guideline for enhancement of the rates of honorarium to the guest faculty who possessed the qualification as prescribed in UGC regulations for the regular Assistant Professors. As per the enhanced rate, ₹1,500/- per lecture subject to a maximum of ₹50,000/- per month has to be paid to a guest lecturer.
Citing their high qualifications fulfilling UGC norms, the guest lecturers in Tamil Nadu have been seeking parity with teachers appointed on time-scale on the basis of 'equal work, equal pay'. They have been repeatedly asking the State government to emulate the initiatives taken in this respect by the other southern States. As per the UGC norms, the selection procedure for the guest lecturers is the same as those of regularly appointed assistant professors.
The Tamil Nadu All Government Colleges UGC Qualified Guest Lecturers Association is awaiting a decisive directive by the High Court to the State government for enhancement of their salary.
In its interim order delivered on January 24, 2019, a Division Bench of the Madras High Court had said: “......that majority of the teaching faculty are guest lecturers and they are paid only a sum of ₹15,000 per month as salary. This court is aware that even the salary paid to an office assistant is ₹17,000 per month. That being so, in the interest of students as well as in the interest of faculty members, ₹15,000/- being paid by the government should be increased and this Court deems it reasonable to direct the government, as an interim measure, to pay a sum of ₹30,000/- per month to each guest lecturer, positively, with effect from 1st February, 2019 onwards.”
The State government, on its part, had increased the salary for guest lecturer from ₹15,000 to ₹20,000 with effect from January, 2021.