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In Pallavi Singh's Mint story on IIT faculty members' pay hike related protests, she gets IIT-Guwahati Director Gautam Barua to talk about the plight of on-contract assistant professors:
“This means six years to reach PB (pay band) IV. Now, we won’t be able to offer anyone joining us on contract the job of an assistant professor on PB III and more than Rs22,000-23,000 as starting salary,” Barua explained.
The salary figures quoted by Barua are all wrong -- he's way out of truthful territory here.
An OCAP will start at a little over 37,000 in metros, and certainly over 35,000 in Guwahati, a non-metro [see this comment by iitmsriram over at Giridhar's blog].
[Aside: The OCAP salary is bad, alright; but it's bad only in comparison with that of real assistant professors in IITs. In comparison with the salaries of other academic jobs open to a fresh PhD (in our universities, for example), the OCAP salary is actually better. In other words, OCAP is bad, but it's still the best (academic) option for a fresh PhD!]
A couple of questions:
What kind of leadership is this? I mean, isn't it Barua's duty to project his institution in the best possible light? Why, then, is he going out of the way to make OCAP sound worse than it actually is?
Barua may claim that he was only talking about the band pay (I'm being charitable here; the band pay for a fresh PhD is 20,140. Barua's figure is again straying from the truth, but on the 'right' side ;-), and not about the AGP, DA, transport allowance. But why? What purpose does this sort of low-balling serve, other than spook potential applicants?
IIT-Guwahati already has a couple of handicaps -- its location, and its status as a relative newcomer among the IITs.
Now it has a third: Gautam Barua.