Enhancement of Retirement age of varsity teachers in JK

Dr. Vikas Sharma
MHRD Guidelines / UGC Regulations 2018: It is pertinent to mention that UGC Regulations 2010 and UGC Regulations 2018 have already fixed the age of superannuation in case of University teachers at 65, which is however awaiting implementation in case of J&K universities. From time to time, SKUAST-J has been following the recommendations of the University Grant Commission and other guidelines issued by MHRD with respect to the revision of the pays scales, service conditions and CAS of the teachers. After the implementation of revised pay scales of teachers as per 6th pay commissions, University has also adopted the Annual Performance Indicators (API) and PBAS based UGC regulations 2010 on “Minimum Qualification for appointment of Teachers and other Academic Staff in the Universities and Measures for the Maintenance of Standard in Higher Education” wherein all the recommendations of the UGC related to appointment and CAS of teachers has been adopted except the conditions related to the age of the superannuation of the teachers as sixty five years.
National Education Policy: In view of implementation of National Education Policy an increase in retirement age will greatly support skilled manpower and create a progressive atmosphere where senior faculty can contribute to sustain the New Education Policy.
Extension of all benefits as applicable to Central Govt. Employees: The erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir has been reorganized into Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir & Ladakh with the extension of all the benefits to the employees of these UT’s as applicable to the other employees of Union Territories/Central Govt. Since the age of superannuation of University teachers falling under UT’s Universities as well as Central Universities has already been enhanced to 65 years. As such, the age of superannuation for teachers /scientists of Universities of UT’s of Jammu & Kashmir may also be considered at par with them.
Recruitment in the age group of 28 to 35 years: Most of the recruitment in colleges and universities for post of teaching faculty is being made in the age group of 28 to 35 years due to the mandatory requirement of PhD and NET, which require considerable time after completion of post-graduation. Mostly, the teachers at the verge of retirement are well experienced and contributing immensely towards research/teaching/extension, as such their potential to the maximum extent can be utilized and will be beneficial to the student community/farmers, if the age of superannuation for teaching community is enhanced to 65 years. This decision of Govt. can be helpful in overcoming shortage of experienced teachers.
Drifting away of teachers towards central universities: It is in place to mention that in all Central Universities and most of the state universities across India have superannuation age as 65 due to which faculty from our universities are drifting away and joining teaching positions at the central universities and thus putting these universities at a disadvantage and depriving them of experienced human resource besides adversely impacting upon the teaching and research work over here.
Wisdom of seasoned / experienced scientists: India’s goal to become global scientific leader cannot be achieved unless and until younger scholars/students gain from the experience and wisdom of seasoned and experienced scientists. In the newly reorganized union territory of J&K an increase in retirement age will greatly support qualified scientists to remain active and to contribute to vibrant economy of Jammu and Kashmir.
Rising life expectancy: In view of faculty being recruited at the later age (28-35 years) or even more, rising life expectancy coupled with other challenges, the retirement age had already been increased by the government to 65 years for medical faculty in J&K.
Long pending demand of the faculty members of four erstwhile State universities: In case of both the Central Universities of Jammu and Srinagar age of superannuation already stands fixed at 65. So it is only the four erstwhile State universities of J&K UT namely University of Jammu, University of Kashmir, SKUAST-Jammu, SKUAST-Kahmir and IUST in respect of whom the age of superannuation needs to be enhanced from 62 to 65. This has been a long pending demand of the faculty members working in these five universities.
Non-availability of the candidates with the prescribed experience: Even, in agriculture and allied sectors, there is always a dearth of experienced Faculty at level of professors & equivalents in the Universities. The posts remain vacant due to non-availability of the candidates with the prescribed experience/requirement of the post. In order to overcome the shortage of experienced Faculties/Researchers in the agriculture sector, it is also imperative to enhance the retirement age of the experienced Teachers/scientist from 62 to 65 years for utilizing their expertise in long term solution of the problems related to the agriculture and allied sectors. GB. Pant University of Agricultural Science and Technology has taken a lead towards this direction and fixed the age of superannuation of Faculty/Teachers as 65 years.
Approval by JK Govt: Govt. of J&K has also approved enhancement of the age of superannuation of teachers working at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Katra, Jammu from 62 to 65 in their Executive Council meeting held on December 22nd, 2017. An earlier Resolution bearing No. 82.38 adopted by the Jammu University Council in its 82nd meeting held on April 24, 2017 has also recommended a similar proposal to be forwarded to the Govt.
In the light of the above observations, SKUAST-TEACHING ASSOCIATION JAMMU (SKUAST-TAJ) is of the considered view that in order to make the scientific and academic environment more responding and sustainable, the enhancement in retirement age of teachers/scientists from 62 to 65 years will be a positive and contributing step towards taking Indian science to the global platform besides strengthening Indian Economy as well.
(The author is President Teaching Association, SKUAST-Jammu)