For Veena Kaul, a government school teacher living in east Delhi, September 5 is a special day. Ten years back on this day, she started her teaching career.
Fast forward to 2008. “Had I known that I would not be made permanent even after 10 years, I would never have joined a government school,” said a regretful Kaul.
Kaul heads the Government School Teachers’ Association (Migrant), a representative body of Kashmiri teachers.
There are around 230 teachers from the Kashmir Valley in Delhi government schools who made the city their home after the turmoil in Kashmir in the 90s.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi hired another 45 teachers for its schools.
Kaul and many other Kashmiri teachers feel that being on contractual basis, they are deprived of all the benefits of the Pay Commission recommendations.
These teachers who have been working over the last 18 years get a lump sum amount as salary, which is much lower than what regular teachers are paid.
These teachers also have to do without basic benefits like TA, DA, regular salary increases, paid summer vacation, maternity leave, provident fund, privilege leave, sick leave or leave travel allowance like regular teachers.
A senior government official said, “They do not get benefits like provident fund and privilege leave as they are not permanent employees. There is a Supreme Court direction against regularisation of contractual employees and one should also consider the conditions for contractual employment under SC guidelines.”
And the latest directive from the government has asked these teachers to appear for a teachers’ selection board test.
“If I were asked to appear for the test 10 years back, I would have been able to do it. But now, many of us aren’t in a position to sit for a selection test after teaching for so many years,” Kaul said.
TK Bhatt, another Kashmiri teacher in a government school in northwest Delhi, explained the disparity.
He said, “A Kashmiri TGT teacher on contract with 10 years of experience gets about Rs 11,140, while a PGT with a similar number of years gets Rs 13,160 as consolidated salary.”
Regular TGT teachers with the same number of years of experience would now get about Rs 25,000 under the 6th Pay Commission recommendations, while PGT teachers would get Rs 28,000.