Srinagar: Having already delayed their salaries for five months, the school education department has deprived thousands of Rehbar-e-Taleem teachers (ReTs) of benefits of 7th Pay Commission for the time being, even though the state government promised them the benefits from September last year onwards.
Last year, the state government said that the ReTs would receive their salaries from September 2018 onwards as per the 7th Pay Commission.
However, much to the teachers’ woes, the school education department has decided to deprive them of the benefits as of now.
Chairman of J&K ReT Forum, Farooq Ahmad Tantray, told Kashmir Reader that the Secretary School Education, Ajeet Kumar Sahu, whom he met in Jammu on Tuesday, told him that withheld salaries of the past 5 months will be released as per the 6th Pay Commission.
Sahu, however, promised Tantray that the arrears as per 7th Pay Commission from September onwards will be released later.
“He (Sahu) said that funds will otherwise lapse,” Tantray said.
Ninety percent of the ReTs’ salaries is paid by the Government of India. The denying of 7th Pay Commission benefits comes amid the state government’s recent decision to create a separate Teacher II cadre with effect from September 1 last year to exclusively adjust regularised ReTs, classified as RReTS. The government ordered creation of 28,363 posts in the Teacher Grade II cadre.
An order issued by Secretary School Education on Thursday said that given the “transition” of RReTs to the Teacher II cadre, the pending salaries of the teachers since September shall be drawn “as per existing procedure based on the last pay” of the RReTs.
“The salary arrears after pay fixation under 7th Pay Commission grades w.e.f. 1st September, 2018 shall be drawn by the respective DDOs by treasury drawl immediately after their transition to Teacher Grade II and shall be remitted directly to their bank accounts”, added the order.
Tantray questioned the five-month delay in salaries and the department’s latest decision to further delay the 7th Pay Commission benefits. “If they had to release the salary as per 6th Pay Commission, why did they withhold it for 5 months?” he asked. “I fear the government might deceive us once again.”
After the government’s decision to create a separate Teacher II cadre, Tantray said, the government was treating RReTs as “new employees from September 2018”.
“I think the effect for the rest of our service years will be considered only notionally for pension benefits,” he said.
Because the government had fixed the minimum qualification for Teacher Grade II posts as graduation, more than 7,000 undergraduate ReTs had been left out, Tantray said.
He also questioned the school education department’s latest order over fresh screening of credentials, both at the district and the divisional level.
“Our documents have been screened and there has been CID verification in every respect at the time of our appointment as ReTs and regularisation as RReTs. Why check the documents afresh? Is it a fresh recruitment?” Tantray said.
Secretary School Education Ajeet Kumar Sahu did not answer calls from this reporter.
When contacted, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Advisor to the Governor who also holds the school education department portfolio, feigned ignorance over the matter.