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West Bengal fixes salaries for poorly paid guest lecturers

West Bengal has finally fixed salaries for guest lecturers in colleges — who were being paid a pittance until now in spite of outnumbering regular employees in many institutions — and has extended them several benefits to which government employees are entitled.

There are nearly 8,500 guest lecturers in the State. So far, their remuneration depended on the whims and capacities of individual institutions. Some earned as low as ₹100 per class and some others barely ₹3,000 a month, even though colleges rely heavily on them.

December order

Even though a government order to fix their salaries was issued last December, its implementation could be initiated only this week because the preparation of a list of such lecturers and the verification of their personal details — a process punctuated by the pandemic — turned out to be time-consuming.

As per the order, guest lecturers who have a Ph.D. or have qualified the NET/SET (National Eligibility Test/ State Eligibility Test) will earn ₹36,000 monthly if they have put in more than 10 years in an institution. Those with less than 10 years experience will get ₹31,000. Those without a Ph.D. or who haven’t qualified the NET/SET will earn ₹25,000 if they have 10 years of experience; while those with less experience will get ₹20,000. They will all get a yearly 3% increment and will retire at 60, and upon retirement be given a sum of ₹5 lakh.

“It was exactly a year ago that a delegation of the West Bengal Guest Lecturers’ Association — led by its general secretary Gopal Chandra Ghosh — had met the Education Minister. Our efforts are finally bearing fruit now,” Samaresh Pramanik, a guest lecturer who teaches computer science and who is the general secretary of the South 24 Parganas unit of the association, told The Hindu.

“Until now we earned next to nothing. Some colleges paid us class-basis: ₹100 per class, ₹200 per class, and no money if no class. Some others paid us monthly: ₹3,000, ₹4,000 and so on. There would be no payment during vacations. Now we are happy,” Mr. Pramanik said.

Running the show

In the college that Mr. Pramanik teaches — a State-aided college in South 24 Parganas — there are 51 guest lecturers compared to only 18 full-timers. Their duties include invigilation and correcting scripts. In other words, the guest lecturers practically run the show. The situation is hardly different in other colleges across West Bengal.

“About three years ago a Central team visited our college, and they asked how much we pay our guest lecturers. I said we pay ₹3,500. The leader of the team asked, very surprised, ‘₹3,500 a day?’ I replied, ‘No, ₹3,500 a month.’ He was even more surprised, and said: ‘That’s even less than what daily wagers earn’,” said a full-time lecturer, who did not want herself or her college to be named.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 4:18:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/west-bengal-fixes-salaries-for-poorly-paid-guest-lecturers/article31916742.ece

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