A school teacher in Bihar holding a post-graduate degree draws a salary less than a peon will get once the new pay-scales announced by the state government take effect.
The reality bites. There is a Rs 4000 gap between the minimum salary drawn by a primary school teacher and a peon, a 4th grade employee. Even a teacher of the 10+2 school draws Rs 1,000 less than him.
The Bihar government had on December 23 implemented revised pay-scales in consonance with the recommendations of the 6th pay panel for its nearly 4.5 lakh employees and 3.42 lakh pensioners.
While implementing the new pay-scales, the government did not heed the grievances of two lakh teachers right from primary to plus-two level appointed on fixed pay ranging from Rs 4000 to Rs 7000.
The state's human resources development minister, Harinarayan Singh, admits that there is widespread resentment among teachers with the prices of essential commodities shooting through the roof.
"But, there is no immediate proposal to hike their emoluments," Singh said, claiming the government was committed to reviving an environment conducive to academic growth citing the example of recruitment of two lakh teacher in the past three years. Another 93,000 would be shortly appointed.
However, Shatrughan Prasad Singh, leader of the Bihar secondary teachers' association and former MP Shatrughan Prasad Singh, said the Association was demanding a pay-scale on a par with other government teachers.
Mohd. Hasnain, a high school teacher in East Champaran district, said, "...my salary is not only lower than that of a senior government teacher, who gets three times more than my Rs 6000 per month emolument, but my salary also does not match my qualifications."
He said that the feeling of discontent was increasing by the day.
Echoing his contention, teachers Lalit Kumar Choudhary and Mohammed Tanvir, posted at a high school in Muzaffarpur district, said they felt cheated when the government agreed to shoulder the burden of Rs 4,500 crore to increase the salary of central government employees.
Tanvir, a social science teacher having MA and B Ed degrees, and doing Ph.D said, "We have got the government job, but we are not entitled to the benefits that should accrue to us as employees of the state government."