Response to DUTA Newsletter March 2009
After a long silence the DUTA Leadership has come out with a Newsletter for March 2009. But as has been customary for the current DUTA Leadership on the issue of the Pay Review Process, even this communication is replete with misinformation. We seek to counter some of them:
Claim 1: “It was entirely due to the DUTA led FEDCUTA’s struggle that the UGC was forced to … withdraw its retrograde draft Regulation”
Truth: The UGC has not yet withdrawn the Draft Regulations. They are still placed on the UGC website. If the Draft Regulations were withdrawn in totality, there would have been no need for a clarification. The clarification only means that all incumbent Readers/ Lecturers (Selection Grade) will be redesignated as Associate Professors without having to face an interview. The proposal to enact the irrational PASS/API/WP system still stands!
Claim 2: “The UGC draft notifications totally negated both the letter and the spirit of the [of] the MHRD notification and the statement of the MoS of MHRD in the Lok Sabha on 16 December 2008.”
Truth: The downgradation of entry level AGP to 6000, prolongation of the service requirement for promotion to Associate Professorship and for Direct Appointments by 3 years, and denial of Academic Allowance has reduced the preference of the teaching profession for the next generation. Simultaneously, young incumbents have been left with a feeling of utter neglect. In her statement the MoS of MHRD also stated: “One of the critical factors affecting the quality of universities and institutions imparting higher education, is our inability to attract and retain young and talented persons to the teaching profession, leading over a period of time to shortage of teachers in central as well as state universities and other higher educational institutions.” But the provisions in her statement worked contrary to the concerns she expressed.
Interestingly, the DUTA Leadership is perturbed only by the “letter and spirit” of the MHRD Notification only when it comes to the issue concerning Associate Professors and exercises complete oblivion when it comes to the rest. This attitude does not be hove a responsive trade union.
Claim 3: “Immediately after appearance of the draft notification on the UGC website, an emergency meeting of DUTA Executive was convened on 17 February 2009…. Subsequently, on receipt of clarification… an emergency meeting of DUTA Executive was convened on 20 February 2009 to take stock of the situation…. decided that the demonstration at UGC on 24 February should be deferred.”
Truth: That’s right! It took the DUTA just 24 hours to call a meeting to take action against the UGC. And when a large number of teachers have been crying hoarse, pleading for two months for action against the MHRD it has been silent. Only promised backdoor negotiations and no confrontation. Such backdoor negotiations, if they have at all happened, have been utter failures. Why has the DUTA Leadership shown such aversion to mobilise teachers against the MHRD?
And what was the haste in “deferring” the agitation when so many issues remained unresolved?
Claim 4: “It is really unfortunate, rather painful, that some of the teachers in the General Body meeting held on 5 February 2009 attempted to disrupt the proceedings.”
Truth: The responsibility of the disruption of proceedings on 5 February, lies squarely on the undemocratic attitude of the DUTA Leadership and its steadfast refusal to allow any meaningful discussion on the issues involved or preventing any dissenting voice to speak. Notably, the attempt by certain members of the DUTA Executive to table an amendment to the DUTA Resolution was scuttled.
Claim 5: “It [the show of dissent at the DUTA GBM] gave a signal to the UGC that DUTA is a divided house which apparently emboldened the UGC … to tamper with MHRD Notification …. bring more stringent regulations for promotions…”
Truth: Though such a conclusion is utterly far fetched, it the DUTA Leadership which must take responsibility for dividing the house. Unity cannot be imposed by silencing genuine concerns of teachers. It is the repeated refusal of the DUTA Leadership to address the concerns of the young teachers that has led to an unfortunate confrontation.
Claim 6: “Had we accepted Chadha Committee recommendations almost every Delhi University teacher would have retried in PB-3 only, wherein, in the new scheme, every teacher Ph.D. Or non-Ph.D. will be entitled to PB-4.
Truth: The UGC Draft Regulations (still on the UGC website) Section 4.3.0.i states that the necessary qualification for Associate Professorship would be: “Good academic record with a Ph.D. degree in the concerned or allied disciplines.”
Of course, since incumbent Readers/ Lecturers (Selection Grade) would be automatically redesignated as Associate Professors this clause does not apply to them. It only applies to Assistant Professors who do not figure in the DUTA Leadership’s scheme of things or its definition of “every teacher”.
We urge upon the DUTA Leadership to take a lead in reasserting the legitimacy of the DUTA by showing sincerity towards all constituents of the DUTA. Certainly an united DUTA is a stronger DUTA and the onus is on the DUTA Leadership to build the strength.