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Over 1,300 IIT teachers to go on hunger strike
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#1
Kharagpur/New Delhi: Over 1,300 teachers of the premier Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) on Monday decided to go on a hunger strike on Thursday to protest the government's apathy towards their demand for a better pay package.

"We will go on a hunger strike and stay hungry on Thursday to protest," M. Thenmozhi told reporters after the national faculty federation of IITs met at IIT-Kharagpur.

The faculty at all the seven IITs is demanding that their payment be made at par with scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation and the Indian Space Research Organisation.

"The payment issue is there. Besides, there are other issues including reservation over the appointment of professors at IITs too," she added.

Thenmozhi, however, said that teaching at the IITs would not be affected as all the teachers would take classes.

She said the aim was not to hamper the study of students but to protest on legitimate issue.

She said the future course of action would be decided after 10-12 days, when the federation meets again.

According to authorities, there are two major issues - one of payment of assistant and associate professors and the other a cap on the number of professors who can be promoted to the next level.

"The government has put a cap that only 40 percent of professors can only be promoted to senior professor level. This is not fair. In IITs, we are talking about quality and if someone is really good, why halt his or her growth in the guise of mere number," said a senior member of the federation.

According to the HRD ministry, the IITs can not appoint a professor without at least four years of teaching experience at an IIT or IIM. "Looking at the severe faculty shortage at IITs, some rules need to change too," Thenmozhi argued.

There is a nearly 20-25 percent shortage of faculty members in all the IITs. And with the number of seats increasing every year to accommodate the 27 percent quota for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and new IITs functioning from independent campuses, the situation is expected to only worsen.

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#2
It is hard in such market conditions to cope up with the demands and strikes at the same time it is unfair to face inflationary price rise.
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