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Package to retain space scientists

The Govt package aims to ensure that greener pastures in private sector don't hinder India's scientific missions, reports Aloke Tikku.
Hindustan Times | By Aloke Tikku, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 12, 2007 04:14 AM IST

The government on Thursday announced a package for the nuclear and space scientists to ensure that greener pastures in the private sector do not come in the way of India reaching the moon and becoming energy independent.

The package for scientists and engineers at the departments of space and atomic energy entitles them to higher allowance and enhanced housing facilities. The government also decided to change the rules to provide enable extension in service to the Atomic Energy secretary, Anil Kakodkar and Space Secretary, G. Madhavan Nair.

Under the plan approved by the Cabinet to retain talent in the high-technology sectors, the Cabinet had doubled the annual professional update allowance from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for scientists in pay scale beginning with Rs 7,450.

For scientists in pay scales beginning with Rs 14,300, the allowance has been increased to Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 for those in scales beginning with Rs 18,400. Scientists who reach Rs 18,400 pay scale would also get two additional increments. Besides, the government also cleared the proposal to reward excellence at work by instituting special awards.

Government officials said the cabinet decision was aimed at stemming, if not reversing, the flow of talent out of the government laboratories into the private research and development firms in India and abroad.

A worried minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, Prithviraj Chavan, told Parliament last month that a little less than 400 scientists and engineers had resigned from the Indian Space Research Organisation over the last three years. Chavan had hoped that the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations would help and referred to the department’s petition seeking higher salaries, allowances and increments for the scientists.

Kakodkar was due to retire in November-end, Nair this month-end when they would have completed 64 years. Both were on extension under a provision enabling scientists of eminence to continue for two more years beyond 62 years.

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