Salary, pension of thousands at Bihar schools, universities on hold for 3 months
Officials in the department of education admitted to the delay in payment of salary, but said that efforts were on to resolve the matter.Updated: Jun 10, 2019 14:00 IST
Thousands of teachers and non-teaching employees of schools, colleges, and universities in Bihar have had a terrible time since March — it has been three months now that they have had to go without a salary.
Barring the staff at a few smaller universities, most of them have been awaiting salaries since March.
The condition of pensioners is worse, as they cannot even run around in their old age to know the reasons behind the continued delay, despite the Bihar government’s commitment before the Patna High Court that pension payment would not be delayed at any cost.
Officials in the department of education admitted to the delay in payment of salary, but said that efforts were on to resolve the matter. “The problem is basically because a new centralised finance management system (CFMS) is being put in place for smooth online clearance. As the old system was stopped without putting CFMS fully in place, the problem has cropped up for the last three months,” they said, not wanting to be named.
Another reason, they said, was the lack of a mechanism to ensure timely monthly payment to teachers. “Under Samagra Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA), central allocation is known in advance and the state government provides a matching share. The state has to pay its teachers sooner or later. If there is a mechanism for timely payment, without waiting for the central share to come, things can be smoother. After all, the government has to pay anyhow,” they added.
Bihar Secondary Teachers’ Association president Kedarnath Pandey and general secretary Shatrughan Prasad Singh said that after a lot of effort, salary could reach school teachers three-four days ago in two (Patna and Sheikhpura) of the state districts, but for the rest, the ordeal continues.
“The grant has been released everywhere for schools, but lack of expertise about the new system has created the difficulty, even as an important festival like Eid passed,” said Pandey.
He said that the education department had directed the district education officers and district programme officers (DPOS) to release salaries up to May. “They were warned of action if they failed to do so, but despite repeated failures, nothing has happened. There is nothing wrong with the new system, but any system is as good as its implementation. Nobody spares teachers for any fault, but keeping them without salary for months shows the sensitivity of the government,” he added.
In higher education, the situation is no better, with teachers waiting for salaries for the past three months, due to the same ‘systemic change’.
“Nobody questions reforms, if they really usher in positive changes. In higher education, there has been endless experimentation with no concrete outcome. At present, the working strength of teachers is barely 60% of the sanctioned strength, but still, the wait for salary has continued,” said KB Sinha, working president of the Federation of University Teachers’ Association of Bihar (FUTAB).
A senior teacher of a college in Pataliputra University said that in the name of the new system, everything was being done except education.
“We get orders to send details of all the teachers in the prescribed format on the specified portal within a day or two, while the fact is there are no trained staff appointed in the past several years. There are orders flying from all directions, but no wherewithal. The fact is the universities have supplied details many a time in the past to the department, as the effort for office automation has been on in the state since 2007-08,” added the senior teacher.
Mani Lal, a retired university in Patna, lamented that the lack of pension had started hurting not only him, but many others in their old age. “Many retired persons have pressing medical needs. Many are out of Patna. Stopping pension in the name of technicality is something unheard of. Do they also stop the pension of administrative officials for such a long period?” he asked.
A senior official of the education department said that the salaries and pensions for all universities would be released in a few days.
“However, for Pataliputra University, [the pay] could be just for one month, as the advance released for it was not adequate. All the three new universities had each been given Rs 30 crore advance, but Pataliputra University, being the biggest of the three, requires a lot more,” he added.
First Published: Jun 10, 2019 14:00 IST