No Vice Chancellor for Madras University: Temporary teachers suffer
A standoff between the Tamil Nadu government and the Governor has led to a delay in the payment of salaries in a state-run university. The tussle between Governor RN Ravi and the DMK government led by Chief Minister MK Stalin is over the inclusion of a University Grants Commission (UGC) nominee in the search panel for the post of Vice Chancellor (VC) in the University of Madras (UoM). The disagreement between the Governor and the government has meant that the post of the VC remains vacant, affecting the daily affairs of the University.
Salaries for 31 assistant professors appointed on a temporary basis to the Institute of Distance Education under the University of Madras (UoM) have been delayed due to the VC post remaining vacant. They allege that ever since the last VC was demitted from the office six months ago, they have not received their salary on time.
The UoM rules stipulate that the VC should clear the salary claims for assistant professors (temporary) of the Institute of Distance Education. The tenure of S Gowri, the last VC of UoM, ended in August 2023. Since then, the VC Convener Committee has been looking after the administration, which includes salary payment for temporary teaching faculty.
“The Convener Committee has four members. The four members are working in different institutes and the nature of their jobs is different. Due to their busy schedules, getting their signatures for salary has become a herculean task,” one temporary teacher told TNM. According to them, their November salaries were paid only by mid-January, while they are still waiting for their salaries for December and January.
The Convener Committee is constituted under state Higher Education Secretary A Karthik. The other members are K Veera Raghava Rao, Commissioner of the Directorate of Technical Education; Professor E Murugan from Madras University; and Professor Sarit Kumar Das from IIT Madras.
One of the committee members told TNM that they are aware of the shortcomings in the salary-related issue. “The delay happened in only one month and the issue was brought to the notice of committee members. We had a discussion regarding the same on Wednesday and would like to rectify the issue within this weekend,” they said.
Speaking to TNM, Professor Kathiravan, secretary of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Faculty Association of UoM said, "Governor Ravi wants the UGC nominee to be in the panel. But the state government had already issued a Government Order on September 13, saying the panel shall have only three members. The demand from the Governor has led to the delay in the formation of the search panel, which is in turn delaying the appointment of VC."
It is not just salary payment, but also other administrative requirements that are delayed due to this. Even while making minor administrative decisions, the Registrar cannot act alone, but needs the approval of the convener committee. “The convener committee has two IAS officers and they are not designated to look after this alone, they have so many things to look after. Having no VC is the sole reason behind these issues,” Kathiravan alleged.