University teachers wear black bands and badges

Representative image.

Faculty members of central universities on Wednesday wore black bands and badges on the Teachers' Day in protest against the government not acceding to their various demands which included a long-pending demand to revert to the old pension scheme.

They also flagged the issue of “misgovernance” in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, University of Manipur in Imphal and Mahatma Gandhi Central University in Bihar where students and teachers both are in loggerheads with the university administration over a host of issues.

Recently, an assistant professor of Mahatma Gandhi Central University in Motihari district of Bihar was brutally roughed up by a group of people over his Facebook post on former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The assailants also reportedly tried to burn the professor alive amid the scuffles.

Teachers wore black bands and badges to mark their protest against the Modi government's policies in higher education sector, on a call from the Federation of Central Universities' Teachers' Association (FEDCUTA)

“Thousands of teachers in universities and colleges across the country wore black bands/badges today to protest against the draconian New Pension Scheme (NPS) and other issues,” Rajib Ray, FEDCUTA president, said.

Several teachers' associations like the Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA), Jamia Teachers' Association (JTA), JNU Teachers' Association (JNUTA), Assam University Teachers' Association (AUTA) and the Aligarh Muslim University Teachers' Association (AMUTA) showed “unanimous support and solidarity” to the FEDCUTA call, he added.

Teachers have been protesting against the NPS since its inception in 2014.

“The discriminatory NPS leaves those who got jobs on or after January 1, 2014 in complete lurch. Not only have the NPS subscribers been undemocratically subjected to the vicissitudes of the share market, they are also only able to withdraw 60% of the contribution at the time of retirement. The rest 40% has to be mandatorily used to purchase annuities from approved life insurers,” Sonajharia Minz, FEDCUTA secretary, said.

It is “high time” that the HRD ministry listens to “the will of the people” and recommend to the government to revert to the old pension scheme, he said.

“The pension revision, as notified by the HRD Ministry on June 11, 2018 also remains incomplete as it did not have the correct concordance table according to the revised pay matrix of the seventh central pay commission (CPC),” he added.

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