Kerala

Retired college teachers decry government stance

Several retired college teachers have accused the State government of denying them their wage arrears and pension benefits for over three years.

The University Grants Commission (UGC)-scale pensioners have cried foul over a Finance department order that deems as ‘notional’ such dues. The move has affected over 600 former teachers of various universities and government and aided colleges who had retired between January 2016 and July 2019.

The ‘unjust stance’ relates to the seventh UGC pay revision that came into effect on January 1, 2016. It was not until July 2019, when the wages and allowances of State government employees were revised, that the government had decided to implement the UGC pay revision too with retrospective effect. It had by then received half of the additional burden from the Centre required to remunerate the teachers.

In its order, the government had decided to implement the revised pay from April 2020, while merging the salary arrears of university and college teachers with the provident fund (PF). This move adversely affected scores of teachers who had retired earlier since their PF accounts were already wound up.

In addition, the ceiling of pension had been raised from ₹60,000 to ₹83,400 with the implementation of the salary and pension revision by the State government on July 7, 2019. The pension hike was made applicable for UGC-scale teachers with effect from January 2016.

However, another order issued by the Finance department in February 2021 dashed the pensioners’ hopes. It was decided that the arrears of the pension revision for the period from January 1, 2016 to June 30, 2019 shall be notional.

‘Strange order’

Sreevalsan Namboothiri, an associate professor of Statistics, who retired from Christian College, Kattakada, said the ‘strange order’ discriminated against those who had retired during the period.

Prof. Namboothiri, who was denied 27 months’ salary hike by way of PF closure, pointed out the order also torpedoed their chances of availing commuted pension to the tune of ₹25 lakh. Such benefits are, however, being enjoyed by those who retired after June 2019. The government has cited financial hardship accentuated by the pandemic as the reason behind its reluctance in disbursing the eligible dues.


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Printable version | May 21, 2022 7:14:54 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/retired-college-teachers-decry-government-stance/article38345046.ece