The sounding of poll bugle in four states and a UT has forced the government to shelve a slew of projects which were to be considered by the Cabinet on Thursday. An HRD ministry proposal to give grant to cash-strapped states to allow a hike in salaries of 4.5 lakh teachers across state universities and colleges may have to be put on hold.
The Cabinet also did not take up the Rajiv Awas Yojana — aimed at providing housing to urban slum dwellers — for its approval, even though the scheme was a key promise of government.
Once the model code of conduct is announced, the government cannot offer any new policies that can help sway voters. The government now plans to approach the Election Commission to seek its advice.
The HRD ministry proposal will benefit 4.5 lakh teachers and aims to dump a rule from the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) pay regime that bars the Centre from aiding states in implementing salary hikes, which the UGC notified on December 31, 2008.
The UGC pay hikes are not mandatory for state universities, but the Centre encouraged states to implement the raised salaries, offering them the incentive that the HRD ministry would bear 80% of the additional financial burden.
States, however, need to adopt the new UGC pay regime completely - including raising the retirement age of teachers to 65 — in order to obtain central assistance. State governments opposed this rule, effectively blocking salary hikes in many cases. The HRD ministry plan allows the Centre to aid states even if they do not raise the retirement age to 65.