Delhi Govt Directs DU to Pay Outstanding Salaries from Students' Funds, DUTA Says Move Unsustainable

File photo of Delhi University campus.

File photo of Delhi University campus.

The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) and other academics of the varsity questioned this sudden change of source of salary payment after the order was released on October 16.

Eram Agha

For the past six months, teachers and non-teaching staff of Delhi University-affiliated colleges were going without salaries. The Directorate of Higher Education (DoHE) issued an order to the Delhi government funded colleges to pay the outstanding salaries from the Student's Society Fund. Though the announcement gives relief to the unpaid teachers and non-teaching staff, it puts the burden of payment of salaries on the parents and students.

The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) and other academics of the varsity questioned this sudden change of source of salary payment after the order was released on October 16, 2020.

DoHE order

The note by Narinder Passi, Deputy Director, (DoHE), said they have noticed salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff of colleges, affiliated to Delhi University and fully funded by the GNCT of Delhi, are outstanding/not being paid due to ongoing special Audit/non release of Grant in Aid.

"Outstanding salaries to the teaching and non-teaching staff be released immediately from the Student's Society Fund as has been done in the past, till the process of Special Audit is completed/ further installments of GIA (under the Salary Head) are released," said the order further adding, "For the purpose, requisite permission for utilizing the Student's Society Funds (SSF) for payment of salaries to the teaching and non-teaching staff is hereby accorded."

The Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi has said that if the funds do not suffice then they will step in, "If any salaries remain unpaid after the Student's Society Fund has been exhausted, the remaining amount will be paid by the DoHE after receipt of formal request from concerned colleges."

The Delhi government funded colleges are: Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Maharishi Valmiki B.Ed College, Maharaja Agrasen College, Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences for Women, Indira Gandhi College of Physical Education, Bhaskaracharya College, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College, Acharya Narendra Dev College, Bhagini Nivedita College and Keshav Mahavidyalaya. Established almost 25 years ago, these colleges have a younger teaching staff, who are shouldering the responsibilities of families by borrowing money or using their savings.

Teachers Protest

DUTA president Rajib Ray said "Using Student's Society Fund (SSF) for paying outstanding salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff is unacceptable. This fund is collected from students for organising extra-curricular activities and is, thus, plugged back into the system by colleges for students."

By ordering usage of SSC for paying salaries, "the Delhi Government is pushing the burden of salaries on parents and students. This is unacceptable, even as an interim measure. Even in the past, if Colleges were forced to use SSF for such purpose, the money was borrowed from this account and has always been returned back to the head as soon as grants-in-aid were released," he further said.

The SSF cannot be siphoned for salary purposes on a permanent basis. "This is neither justifiable nor sustainable. Audits are routine matters for any institution and salaries have never been stopped on this pretext earlier. Why should it be any different this time?"

The Academics for Action and Development strongly opposed the letter and demanded its immediate withdrawal. "How can the payment of salaries of the teachers and the employees be linked to special audit? Has such a thing happened in any organization in history? How can the source of payment of salaries be changed arbitrarily? For the last one year, there has been very irregular release of the funds of the 12 fully funded Delhi Government Colleges."

The teachers and karamcharis of these colleges struggled in the times of pandemic as their salaries were stopped. "This inhuman treatment is unacceptable and would have serious consequences on the teaching-learning process with a considerable social cost. We demand immediate release of the salary and not to make contingent on any other issue," said the statement from AAD signed by DU teachers, Richa Raj, SBN Tiwary Ashok and Rajesh Jha.

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