Centre agreed to salaries of assistant professors in IITs and IIMs

The Centre has agreed to a jump in the salaries of assistant professors in IITs and IIMs, raising prospects of an early resolution of an unprecedented pay dispute that saw teachers boycotting classes. The government has agreed to hike the starting salary of assistant professors by almost 25 per cent from that stipulated in a new pay regime it had notified earlier this month, top officials revealed.

The decision was firmed up today, on the eve of a meeting between human resource development minister Kapil Sibal and IIT directors to resolve the crisis.

Faculty at the IITs and the IIMs are protesting revised pay scales that snip salaries recommended by a central pay panel under former Indian Institute of Science director Goverdhan Mehta.

The pay regime notified earlier this month also ignores a slew of additional incentives suggested by the Mehta panel to counter the lure of better salaries offered by industry and foreign universities.

Poor salaries for assistant professors, the institutes argued, were at the root of the dispute.

Under the pay scales notified earlier this month, assistant professors were placed at a starting monthly salary of Rs 30,000, in a range referred to as pay band 3.

The HRD ministry has decided that salaries for assistant professors will now start at Rs 37,400 a month, in a higher pay range - called pay band 4.

The academic grade pay - a rank-based increment - for assistant professors will remain at Rs 8,000 a month, as notified earlier this month.

The ministry has not yet accepted demands from the IITs for additional incentives - financial compensation for the years spent in study and research instead of working, or a performance-related incentive scheme.

The salaries notified earlier this month - and first reported by The Telegraph on August 19 - represented the first hike in pay scales for the IIT and IIM faculties since 1999.

On learning about the notification, faculties across the IITs and IIMs protested against the new pay regime, wearing black bands. Teachers at different IITs took turns at boycotting classes.

The IITs last week submitted a memorandum of demands to the HRD ministry, threatening a mass hunger strike on September 5 - Teacher’s Day - if their demands were not accepted.

The IIMs have also formulated a similar charter of demands, though they have not specified any protest action they are planning.

Under current pay scales for teachers at India’s universities, assistant professor salaries automatically proceed from pay band 3 to pay band 4 after three years in service. The pay scales for IIT and IIM faculties notified this month did not include any similar provision for shifting the salaries of assistant professors to pay band 4 after three years.

Teachers at the IITs and the IIMs have traditionally been paid higher than their counterparts at universities because of the higher demand they command in the corporate market.

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