Friday, October 02, 2009

HRD Minister says IIT-HRD stand-off is resolved

Here's the report:

The guidelines issued on pay structure are only norms, he said, adding that the "IIT system has the flexibility to deviate from the norms in exceptional cases. We are prepared to re-visit any of the guideline in case of exceptional cases."


"If in a particular discipline faculty is not available as per the existing norms, the IITs can relax the norms to absorb any person," Sibal said.

In another report, Sibal invokes Gandhi Jayanti:

“On Gandhi Jayanti, I want to give good news to the nation. Now, there is no issue between the government and the IITs," Mr Sibal said after an hour-long meeting with IITs faculty federation here. Though there will be no change in the salary structure of the IIT faculty, the government is flexible on certain issues where there is a need for exception.

So, how did the IIT FA reps react?

Prof M Thenmozhi, President of All India IIT Faculty Federation, said they were happy with the discussions with Sibal. "The Minister has assured us about IIT retaining flexibility and they can relax norms. This will help IITs move forward," she said. [source]

Ah, this victory must smell so sweet! I can almost hear the popping of champagne corks from Guwahati to Mumbai, from Ropar to Chennai.

I wonder what they do at Gandhinagar to celebrate ;-)


  1. Anonymous said...

    That's great news. Thanks to Gandhi Jayanti!

  2. Yayaver said...

    At Gandhinagar, Dryday through out the year...

  3. Anonymous said...

    I'm very happy for the IIX faculty members -- a well deserved victory. This also affects me on a personal level. I've an AP offer from an IIT, but I've no postdoc experience. My heart sank a few weeks ago when I realized that the "three years" clause was not merely a guideline but law! No wonder I've been following this case very closely, and the more I read on the issue, the stronger my faith in the IIT FA got!

    In the end, I believe it was just a matter of sitting together and discussing things rationally. Conveying messages through the media caused all kinds of misunderstandings, which could probably have been avoided. None of that matters now -- all is well that ends well!

    I don't think anyone can blame Mr. Sibal for this fiasco (at least I don't) -- from what I read, the three year rule was recommended by the GM committee in the first place. The minister merely included the recommendation in his notification, probably without realizing that it would become such a contentious issue.

    Kudos to the IIT FA for their persistence, and kudos to the ministry for being rational about the whole thing in the end, rather than let it turn into a battle of egos.

    And very importantly, thank you to Prof. Abi, Prof. Giri, and Prof. Sriram for their excellent inputs throughout this little ordeal.

    -- NP

  4. Anonymous said...

    Can be waived under "exceptional" circumstances. And exceptional here means a CNR Rao or a Stephen Hawking ? Because thats what the minister seemed to convey in the DA interview.

    So if there is a problem, not being able to fill a position, or such thing, then you have to go the council, to the minister and his babus. And how will you convince them that this is an exceptional case ? Who will do all this extra work, convincing the babus ? Hell, even if you have all the rules to help you, it is not easy to get good people. Now you have to battle this extra obstacle.

    I dont think anything has changed as far as the autonomy issue is concerned. The lawyer-politician has shown you cannot get the better of him. Instead of increasing the autonomy of our better performing institutions, we are seeing a regression.

  5. Anonymous said...

    Much ado about nothing. This is basically the same as what regulations were before the unnecessary storm was whipped up.

    well... perhaps that is just as well. Back to my cup of coffee :)

  6. Anonymous said...

    I do not see what is achieved. Minister is saying the same thing he was saying earlier. Only his language is polite this time.

  7. Anonymous said...

    I think IIT faculty associations should make an on-line tracker on a publicly accessible web-site. This should show two numbers: one that tracks the number of faculty openings and another that tracks the actual number of faculty on payroll. Historical data can be plotted to see if people are joining and/or leaving.

    In the wake of foreign universities coming in with full support from our Harvard educated HR minister, it would make sense to make this data available to the public, so that they can see if the hiring problems at IITs are going to get aggravated from this point onwards.

    Data is definitely better than sweet talk.

  8. Anonymous said...

    Very good. I am delighted that IIT people got (at least something) they wanted. Now, I hope that quality of research improves at IITs (especially in the IITs which started from 90s - older ones are doing not too bad). Can we see a few FRS from IIT faculties (BTW who was the last IIT engineering faculty became FRS?) and fellows of US national academy of engineering?

  9. Agile said...

    I am not sure what has been achieved here at this point of time?? What happened to moving regular starting AP from PB-3 to PB-4 as is the case with UGC? One of the points IIT FA had was having difficulty in getting good faculties at the entry level.. whats gonna happen to the hiring new faculty? They will join now?

    read the below article..

    IIT Ropar is having hard time in having faculty for Electrical Engg and Computer Science.. why? Why students first choice is CS and then EE?? EE and CS Graduates including Phds are in high demand in corporate world earning 20-30 lakhs per annum... why would someone than go for faculty in IIT at a salary of ~ 6 lakhs per annum?

    Not sure what IIT has achieved so far from all this? Kapil has been successful in burrying the main issue under the ground and agreeing to the lesser important fooling the IIT facutly.. God save the IITs...

  10. Chitta said...

    Quote: "If in a particular discipline faculty is not available as per the existing norms, the IITs can relax the norms to absorb any person," Sibal said.

    The above is different than saying exceptions are only for people of the caliber of Hawking or CNR Rao.

    If the above cane be used to make exceptions to the OCAP specs (10%, on contract; for 3 yrs) and hire faculty in certain engineering disciplines where there is shortage of faculty then that is a much needed flexibility which was not spelled out by Mr. Sibal earlier.

    It could basically mean that most Science PhD hires will have to follow the OCAP specs while most engineering PhD hires would be able to avoid that.

    That would be my interpretation of the above quote.

  11. Anonymous said...

    ..and what about existing assistant professors in engineering departments who joined with more than 3 years postdoc experience.. shudnt they be given PB4 from joining instead of after 3 years of service in pb3.

  12. Anonymous said...

    "IIT faculty associations should make an on-line tracker on a publicly accessible web-site. Historical data can be plotted to see if people are joining and/or leaving."

    --- Who will do all this? IITs cannot hire good programmers to implement this or clerks to enter the data because the salaries are so low.

    I am only faintly joking.

  13. Agile said...

    Quote: "If in a particular discipline faculty is not available as per the existing norms, the IITs can relax the norms to absorb any person," Sibal said.

    My interpretation of this quote is, If IIT doesnt get Phd with 3 years of working experience in EE or CS, they can hire fresh PhDs without any experience... this doesnt mean they will pay more salary to the deserving candidates...
    will that be fair to the students in those particular disciplines?..

  14. iitmsriram said...

    Thanks to NP, for acknowledging my "inputs"; I will continue to offer inputs as long as I believe they have a constructive purpose. People may feel that the agitations and the faculty federations have accomplished nothing. But I believe Thenmozhi correctly states that we were happy with the discussions. It is not only the faculty associations that needed an escape route, the ministry too! I believe what has been worked out is a reasonable settlement; we have got some of the things we wanted but not some others. There may not be any new notifications, but just wait and see how the notifications are implemented.


    ps: if you caught the "we were happy" phrase, yes, I was there.