Srinagar: In a development that is likely to end months of protest by teachers, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday approved 7th Pay Commission benefits for Rehbar-e-Taleem teachers (ReTs), who were left out from the hike earlier.
The Pay Commission benefits were announced effective from April this year, but more than 41,000 ReTs, who were regularised under the state’s ReT scheme conceived in 2000, were left out by the state government from these benefits, sparking an intense agitation from the deprived teachers.
The 7th Pay Commission benefits in favour of the ReTs were approved by Governor SP Malik on Wednesday afternoon at a top-level meeting at Raj Bhavan, his official residence, a source told Kashmir Reader.
The source said that Advisor to the governor, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Director School Education Kashmir GN Itoo, and State Project Director of Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Tufail Ahmad Matoo, were present in the meeting at Raj Bhavan.
The ReTs will now get the benefits like rest of the government employees. However, they will begin to receive hiked salaries effective from September, not April, the source said.
Besides the Pay Commission benefits in favour of ReTs, the source said that delinking of the teachers’ salaries from Government of India funding, which the ReTs have been long been demanding, will be looked into by a high-level committee that has already been constituted by the state government.
State Project Director (SPD) of Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, Tufail Ahmad Matoo, confirmed to Kashmir Reader that 7th Pay Commission benefits in favour of ReTs have been approved by the state government.
Talking to Kashmir Reader, Chairman of the JK ReT Forum, Farooq Ahmad Tantray, thanked Governor Malik and also his advisor, Khurshid Ganai, Director School Education Kashmir GN Itoo, and SPD Tufail Matoo.
Tantray, who was also at Raj Bhavan when the announcement was made, quoted Governor Malik as saying that he “came to know late about the issue, otherwise I would not have let you protest”.
“I do not want teachers to hit the roads. I respect you because you are the nation builders,” Tantray quoted Governor Malik as telling the ReTs.
Tantray expressed his thanks to the ReTs and their leaders, and to “especially the media fraternity”.
“I am thankful to the media here for highlighting the issue,” he said.
“A big fight is over, a grave issue is solved,” he sighed.
Tantray said that lakhs of school students were suffering because the ReTs were “compelled” to be away from schools.
On the issue of delinking of teachers’ salaries from Government of India funding, he said that the Governor has assured he will ask the high-level committee formed in this regard to “expedite” the process.