Kannur: The Kerala Government has likely lost out on Rs 750 crore the Centre ought to have paid it to pay arrears of College and University teachers, reveals a document obtained by way of a Right to Information query.
The Centre's share is yet to be claimed due to the State's failure to submit the required documents on time, but the latter maintains that the proposal was submitted at the right time.
College teachers say other States have distributed the arrears already.
How the dues arose
In June 2019 the Kerala Government had passed the order allowing the University Grants Commission pay scales recommended by the 2016 Central Pay Commission to teachers with the State Universities and colleges. The difference in pay from 2016 April through March 2019 has been pending.
The process to claim money from Centre
The Union Education Department had written to the States, between February 24 and March 10, asking to submit the proposal to allow the arrears before March 31, 2022. The proposal which was to be filed in 2018 was thus extended until 2022 March. However, The Union Education department clarified, in a letter to 22 States including Kerala, that a 50 per cent share of the arrears cannot be allowed as the proposals submitted were not clear and precise, despite extending the proposal submission date.
Meanwhile, the State Higher Education Minister R Bindu clarified, responding to the MLAs’ questions in the Assembly, that the proposals were submitted to the Union Education Department in April 2019, June 2020 and twice in March 2022.
Amid these, an order issued by the State Higher Education Department, on May 5 2020, says the Government has decided to credit the arrears to the teachers’ personal General Provident Fund (GPF) accounts directly, in parts. As per the order, the teachers can withdraw the arrear amount from their GPF accounts in January 2023, July 2023, January 2024 and July 2024. According to this, the teachers could withdraw their first installment of arrears credited from last month.
The order issued by the Finance Department on January 21 says this decision has been withheld as the State’s finances are in a bad shape and the Centre’s share has not been allowed yet.