Ahead of Bihar elections, 3.5 lakh school teachers in state get 15% hike, EPF benefits
Months ahead of the scheduled assembly elections, the Nitish Kumar cabinet on Tuesday gave its nod for 15% increase in the basic salary of school teachers and librarians appointed since 2006 through the panchayati raj institutions and urban civic bodies.
Along with the government contribution to the employee provident fund (EPF), the total hike will come to over 20%.
It will be effective from April 1, 2021, and will benefit over 3.5 lakh teachers.
The cabinet also gave its nod to the long awaited revised service conditions.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had announced this in his Independence Day address also.
Now, the teachers will get one-time option for choice inter-district transfer and also EPF and promotion benefits.
The EPF benefits will be applicable with prospective effect and will cost Rs 815 crore annually to the exchequer, while the 15% pay hike will put an additional annual burden of Rs 1,950 crore.
The teachers will also have promotional avenues, with 50% vacancies in the secondary schools to be filled with the eligible teachers from middle school. They will also have the opportunity to go up to the headmaster grade.
Woman teachers will be entitled to 180-day maternity leave, increased from the existing 135 days. A new provision of 15-day paternity leave has also been introduced.
The secondary and higher secondary teachers will also be entitled to three-year study leave just three years after their service. At present, they can avail it only after seven years.
The teachers will also be entitled to 11-day earned leave every year, which could be saved up to 120 days. It will also be applicable with prospective effect.
The cabinet also relaxed norms for appointment on compassionate ground on lower posts, as in many cases the kin of teachers did not have the eligibility to be recruited on the same post. The ad hoc teachers in secondary and higher secondary schools will also get weightage of five points in recruitment.
The teachers have fought a long legal battle in support of their demand for ‘equal pay for equal work’ and proper service conditions. Later, the government moved the Supreme Court challenging the Patna High Court order that had gone in favour of teachers. After marathon hearing for 24 days, the SC judgment came last year, quashing the HC order, giving teachers a big blow. Since then, they were hoping that the government would give them a hike. The EPF issue had also landed in the Patna HC.
Ahead of the 2015 Assembly elections, when pay hike was a big poll issue, a new pay-scale with 20% hike was announced for the teachers and an agreement was reached between the teachers’ bodies and the government on May 12, 2015, under which revised service conditions were to be laid down.
Later in 2017, the teachers were again given around 17% hike as part of the seventh pay recommendations. “In the last five years, the present hike despite constraints due to Covid-19 pandemic takes the total salary increase to around 60%,” said an education department official.
Now just before 2020 assembly elections, teachers have got another pay hike and service conditions.
Teachers’ issues were again threatening to become a major poll issue this time, with the Opposition RJD and the Congress consistently playing it up.
Earlier this year, the teachers has also gone on statewide strike. However, the CM had consistently maintained it was his government that appointed them and gave pay hikes and it would again be his government that would give them another hike at the right time.
15% pay hike for teachers
EPF benefits extended
Maternity leave extended to180 days
Paternity leave of 15 days introduced
Additional weightage to ad hoc teachers In recruitment