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IIT faculty protest curbs, to observe fast

Ananya Dutta

KOLKATA: Faculty of all seven Indian Institutes of Technology will observe a token fast on September 24, to protest against restrictions imposed on the IITs.

They “find the revised order from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) dated September 16 completely unacceptable,” said M. Thenmozhi, president of the All-India IIT Faculty Federation here on Monday.

At a meeting, representatives of the faculty of the “existing” IITs, also decided to submit a memorandum to HRD Minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday, asking for a meeting between the Ministry, the directors of the IITs and the faculty members before October 1, Dr. Thenmozhi added.

She said the Federation would communicate with the faculty at the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) about the memorandum and the token fast, and ask them to join the protest.

“The issue is not just about a higher pay-scale,” she said.

The faculty are primarily against the restrictions against premier institutes in an HRD Ministry notification.

These include curbs on recruitment (10 per cent of all faculty have to be hired at the level of “assistant professors on contract”) and promotions (an assistant professor must have at least 4 years of experience at that level before being promoted professor).

“We are demanding a flexible cadre system that we have always had.” The Federation also wants the salary of faculty at the entry level higher than the proposed Rs. 30,000 and is opposed to hiring fresh Ph.Ds only on a contract basis.

The IITs follow a rigorous procedure at the time of hiring and promotion, said Dr. Thenmozhi. When such is the case, why have regulations imposed upon the institutes?

Asked about the recent meeting the directors of the institutes had with Mr. Sibal, where they reportedly said the recommendations were acceptable, she said, “the directors have said that they are happy with the proposals, but we are not happy.”

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