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State to implement new UGC pay scale from Jan 1: Mamata

Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Tuesday that the revised pay scale of the University Grants Commission (UGC) would be implemented by the state government for college and university teachers with effect from January 1, 2020.

"The revised UGC pay scale recommended by the Seventh Central Pay Commission will be implemented in government and state-aided colleges and universities from January 1, 2020," Banerjee said while addressing a meeting of Vice-Chancellors and teachers of higher educational institutes across the state at Netaji Indoor Stadium on Tuesday.

Banerjee further announced that teachers (assistant professors, associate professors and professors) will also get a three percent increment on their respective salaries for four years — from 2016 to 2019.

"We will have to dole out an additional Rs 1,000 crore from the state exchequer for this," she added.

The Chief Minister also maintained that the Centre and the state have different salary structures but the latter always wants its teachers and government employees to get benefits to the maximum extent.

"We have to repay Rs 50,000 crore debt this year. Some people are asking salaries as per the central pay commission. One must understand that the (central) salary structure is different from the states'. Have faith on us, the government will be giving you benefits to the best of its ability from time to time," she reiterated.

Banerjee added that central funds in schemes like "Sarva Siksha Abhiyan" have been cut down.

"We can't stop any project. We have to continue with "Sarva Siksha Abhiyan" by spending extra money from our exchequer. We do not make tall promises like the Central government did before elections and then sat idle by not implementing them. I always commit whatever I am able to deliver. I believe fulfilling commitment highlights my credibility," she asserted.

Reiterating that a host of measures have already been taken for ensuring the job security of guest lecturers, part-time teachers and whole-time contractual college teachers, she said all of them have been brought under a single umbrella of the State Aided College Teachers (SACT). "They will receive a salary hike of Rs 5,000 and will receive a gratuity of Rs 5 lakh," Banerjee said.

As per figures of the state Higher Education department, there are around 13,500 such teachers in colleges under the ambit of the SACT.

The West Bengal College & University Professors Association (WBCUPA) welcomed the move. "The teachers have been demanding revised UGC scale for a long time. We know that there is a financial crunch but the Chief Minister has always stood by us," said Sujoy Ghosh, spokesperson of WBCUPA.

However, some teachers' organisations claimed that denying the arrears would be a great loss as teachers would be deprived of their corresponding increments.

"They had been demanding the implementation of the revised pay scale and our Chief Minister has taken a note of that. The payment of arrears hardly came up during our interaction with the teachers. I will hold a meeting with them and we are hopeful that grievances, if any, will be resolved through discussion," said Partha Chatterjee, the state Education minister.

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