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Govt ‘ignored’ MHRD order on teachers 

Patiala, November 13

It was in 2013 that the Ministry of Human Resource Department (MHRD) had asked all state governments to have only one cadre of teachers, and not separate categories of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), or state Education Department.

SSA and RMSA teachers currently seeking regularisation with their pay protected say if the state had complied with the MHRD directions, the present impasse could have been avoided.

Over the past five years, the MHRD, which contributes 60 per cent of the amount for SSA and RMSA expense, has written to state governments more than once to have a unified cadre. However, Punjab has only this year made the offer of regularising teachers recruited under SSA and RMSA societies. In a letter dated March 4, 2013, the MHRD had written to the then state Project Director that “teachers  

recruited under a separate SSA cadre are ‘erroneous’ and should be considered under the state government.”

When the teachers in question were recruited in 2008, the State Project Officer of the SSA Authority, Punjab, was Krishan Kumar, who is currently Secretary, Education.

When asked about the MHRD communication, Krishan Kumar said, “I can’t comment on the letter since I was not holding the post of the letter’s addressee at that time. But we are complying with this communication now. They said there should be one cadre; therefore, we have offered regularisation to the teachers — to bring uniformity.”

“However, the MHRD was aware of the situation, since each year the budget is sanctioned only after reviewing the annual position of SSA teachers,” he added.

In 2014, the MHRD revised the SSA norms, and issued guidelines that states should maintain unified teaching cadres. The government still did not act for the next four years. On April 5, 2018, another letter was sent out to all states and UTs reasserting that SSA teachers should not be a separate cadre because the responsibility of all teachers lay with the state government.

Regarding the resentment over the offer to pay the teachers only Rs 15,300 on joining as regular employees — a cut from their current Rs 42,000 under the SSA — Krishan Kumar said, “The government can’t break its own rules as that will lead to chaos in the state. Even a PCS officer gets only the basic salary on joining. Rules are the same for everyone. Earlier their employer was SSA, Punjab; now if they want to join the Education Department, it will be considered fresh recruitment.”

However, teachers claim that the government notification dated October 9 nowhere mentions that the recruitment is “fresh”. Rather, it has been called a “merger”. Therefore, the rule of basic salary should not be applicable to them.

Arvind Rana, president of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Teachers Welfare Association, UT, Chandigarh, said, “The state government is trying to fool the teachers, just to hide their past mistakes, by offering them regularisation at Rs 15,300.”

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