New Delhi, (IANS) There will be no increase in the salary of the protesting Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) professors but many aspects of their row with the government was resolved after Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal Friday promised “flexibility” in promotions and fresh appointments.
“On Gandhi Jayanti, I want to give a good news to the nation. Now, there is no issue between government and the IITs,” the HRD minister said after an hour long meeting with IITs’ faculty federation at his official residence here.
Though there will be no change in the salary structure of the IIT faculty, the government is “flexible on certain issues where there is a need for exception”.
“I made it clear to the IIT system that what has been decided is the nature of the norm. IIT system has the flexibility to deviate from the norm in exceptional cases. We are prepared to re-visit any of the guideline in exceptional cases.
“The norm is existing for long and everything will be done within that, though we have given the IITs power to take decisions on exceptional situations,” Sibal said.
IIT faculty federation chief M. Thenmozhi said that they are now “happy and clear” about it and reiterated “their demand for flexibility was accepted by the minister”.
“We are happy that the minister accepted our demand of flexibility. We were not worried about the salary only. Now, the minister told us frankly about the promotion and appointment issues. The flexibility is a welcome step forward,” A.K. Mittal, a faculty member of IIT Delhi, told IANS after the meeting.
The IIT faculty was protesting for last two months after their demand for a better pay packet was rejected by the HRD ministry. The ministry had also put a cap of 40 percent in the promotion of professors to the next level. It has also asked the IITs not to appoint fresh PhDs on permanent rolls till they have three years of teaching experience.
On Sep 24, around 2,000 IIT faculty members went on a day-long hunger strike against all these decisions.
Speaking on the fresh appointments, Sibal said: “If faculties are not available with the required experience which is at least three years, then they can absorb fresh ones. The IITs can take decisions in cases of exceptions.”
About the 40 percent cap on professors’ promotion, the HRD minister said: “If any IIT has more professors deserving promotion, then the norms will re-visited. In two years or three years, in case of such a situation, we can re-visit the norms. That flexibility is there.”
“The honourable minister said we can come and meet him anytime to resolve any problem. We all believe that the flexibility is what we are demanding and now the government has accepted it,” Soumyo Mukherji, a professor of IIT-Bombay, said after the meet.