THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government’s reluctance to bear the mounting pension liabilities of universities has raised concern among varsity teachers and non-teaching staff. The finance department’s recent directive to the universities to create a separate pension fund, and to mobilise a major share of it from its own resources, will sound the death knell for the already cash-strapped varsities, they pointed out.
The Syndicate of the University of Kerala has decided to send a delegation to submit a petition to the chief minister and finance minister demanding a roll-back of the decision. Universities have been asked to earmark funds to the tune of 25% of the maximum salary of employees to the proposed pension fund. Of this, 10% will be given as non-plan grant by the government while the remaining 15% have to be mobilised by the university from its own funds.
In case the universities face shortage of funds, they can borrow from banks or government-controlled financial institutions, the finance department has directed. At present, the monthly non-plan grant from the government is being used to meet the pension and related benefits of retired teachers of universities.
The pro-UDF Kerala University Teachers’ Organisation warned that the move would have consequences such as universities hiking fees manifold and other undesirable practices to mobilise additional funds. The Kerala University Staff Union, representing the non-teaching staff alleged it was a move by the government to wreck state universities so as to pave the way for the entry of private universities.