Karnataka government to give increment, health insurance for guest lecturers- The New Indian Express

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By Express News Service

BENGALURU: In a relief for guest faculty in Karnataka, the State Government has asked them to 
call off their 37-day protest and have accepted several of their demands. Minister for Higher Education Dr MC Sudhakar on Friday announced that all guest lecturers will receive an increment of Rs 5,000 across all categories, including health insurance, paid leave and a fixed retirement amount. However, the issue of job security was not addressed during the meeting which has left the guest faculty in a bitter spot. 

Addressing the media, Dr Sudhakar announced that the State Government will bear the charges of the increment at an estimated annual grant of Rs 68 crore. The revised salary directive will be applicable from January 1, 2024, and instructions have been issued to the department.

The minister added that one paid leave will be made available to lecturers each month for those who contribute 15 to 19 hours in teaching. Other demands such as discrimination were noted.

“The cases of discrimination of guest faculties with other regular lecturers by college principals were examined and all college principals have been instructed through video conference held on December 12 to treat them with respect,” Sudhakar elaborated. 

A centralised database will also be created to simplify the process of recruiting guest faculty in colleges and document verification. For those who have rendered their service for more than 10-15 years and are above the age of 60, the State Government will provide a consolidated sum of Rs 50,000 every year when they retire.  

For health insurance, Sudhakar said that every month the lecturer has to contribute Rs 400 and an equal amount will be added by the government, which will allow the individuals to have insurance of Rs 5 lakh per annum. An annual grant of Rs 6.53 crore is required to provide this facility.  Adopting a new system, a provision will be made during recruitment and a service weightage of 1% annually will apply to a maximum of 5% for the appointment of assistant professors. 

Dr Sudhakar emphasised that the above decisions have been taken with an intention and commitment to resolve the problems of guest faculties. “All guest lecturers are requested to attend classes from January 1, 2024. Failing to accept this decision will leave the government to look at alternate measures in the academic interest of the students,” he warned. 

For over a month, more than 12,372 lecturers working in 430 colleges have been on strike, demanding regularisation of their services.

‘Will continue with strike’
Even as several demands, including increment, paid leave and health benefits were announced for guest lecturers after a meeting with Higher Education Minister Dr MC Sudhakar, guest faculty president Hanumanthagowda Kalmani, who boycotted the same, has said that their month-long strike will continue. He said the government has not addressed their demand to regularise their services. “The minister had warned that the government would find alternative ways if we continued with the strike. But we dare him to do it… we will intensify our strike on the lines of the Nargund farmers’ struggle. Our only demand is regularisation of services by making amendments to the C&R rules,” he said. They will launch an 80-km padayatra from Siddaganga Mutt in Tumakuru on January 1.

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