The cabinet is most likely to announce 5% DA for Central staff

The human resource development ministry may lift a cap restricting the number of IIT and IIM professors eligible for a higher salary based on their experience - a key demand in an unprecedented pay protest by the faculty. A 40 per cent cap on the number of IIT and IIM professors eligible for the experience-based salary raise is likely to be lifted in a revised pay notification, government officials confirmed.

IIT and IIM professors start with a salary of Rs 48,000 a month with a post-based increment - known as the academic grade pay (AGP) - of Rs 10,500 a month under the notified pay regime.

But the notified regime has a provision of a higher AGP, of Rs 12,000 a month, for professors who have held the post for over six years.

The notified pay structure, however, clarifies that only 40 per cent of professors at an institute can receive the higher AGP at any point in time.

The cap, IIT and IIM faculty have argued, may stall the growth of relatively younger professors, as seniors in the faculty would fill the higher salary posts till they retire.

The 40-per cent limit could also lead to nepotism and politics involving institute administrators in picking beneficiaries of the higher salary, the faculty have argued.

But Sibal’s consent to lifting the cap at the IITs and the IIMs could fuel similar demands from central universities and the National Institutes of Technology (NITs).

Central universities have a 10 per cent cap on professors eligible for a higher AGP while the NITs have a 20 per cent restriction. “The arguments that the IIT faculty have used are equally valid for universities and NITs too,” an HRD ministry official said.

Representatives of the Professors Forum of India - the country’s largest apolitical block of central university teachers - today met Sibal demanding that the 10 per cent cap be lifted.

The ministry has already agreed to the single biggest demand of the IIT and IIM faculty. The pay regime at the centre of the controversy places assistant professors in a salary range known as “pay band three”, with a starting salary of Rs 30,000 a month and a post-based increment of Rs 8,000 a month.

Unlike pay scales for central universities, however, there is no provision in this regime for upgrading assistant professors to a higher pay range starting at Rs 37,400 a month after three years of teaching.

IIT and IIM faculty have argued that their job requirements mandate that only those with three years’ teaching experience can apply for the post of assistant professor - and demanded higher starting salaries. The demand has been accepted.

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