... was in not protesting against the clause on the lecturer-cum-post-doc position.
I mean, they did protest, but not on the really important issue of the salary for this position. The effect of this half-hearted and ineffective protest is that, in the revised notification, the MHRD was content with a cosmetic change: it re-named that position to "assistant professors hired on contract."
But, "on contract" assistant professors are not the same as "real" assistant professors; candidates with less than three years of post-doctoral experience are eligible -- going strictly by the text of the notifications -- to be hired only as "on contract" assistant professors, but not as real ones.
And here's the killer: the "on contract" kind will earn less than Rs. 25,000 [Rs. 15,600 + seven non-compounded increments (3276) + AGP of 6000], compared to Rs. 38,000 for their "real" siblings.
This clause is a killer for IITs because their biggest need is for engineering PhDs who are in short supply. For the sciences, on the other hand, this is not likely to pose a major problem because most of their faculty applicants already have 3+ post-doc years.
The IIT faculty associations were right to focus on the interests of the existing faculty. [Also, almost by definition, they are not geared to take care of their members-in-waiting!] So, I wouldn't blame them for not making a huge noise about this clause.
However, I would certainly blame the IIT directors for taking their eyes off this clause. This is going to hurt them.
Unless, of course, they have a secret -- or, unpublicized! -- agreement with MHRD that they will have the flexibility to offer "real" assistant professorships to engineering PhDs with less than 3 years of post-doc.
I wouldn't rule out this possibility.
In the absence of such an agreement, they will have to come up with ways of finding extra cash -- by dipping into their corpus, for example -- to sweeten the deal for their "on contract" assistant professors.