Waiting for 7th pay commission benefits, agricultre scientists hold protest

With an aim to expedite the “excruciating slow process” of providing 7th pay commission hike to agricultural scientists associated with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), around 5,000 scientists across India observed a day-long silent protest on Thursday. Under the aegis of Agricultural Research Service Scientists Forum (ARSSF), these scientists went to work with black ribbons tied to their arms. There are close to 100 ICAR-run institutes in the country.

“The 7th pay commission was announced in 2016 but we still haven’t received the hike. All other government employees cutting across departments have got the benefits of the revised pay commission and only we have been left out. We kept waiting quietly until November 2017 when ICAR took up the matter with the Union finance ministry and we were assured that our arrears would be cleared by January 2018. However, that hasn’t happened. Besides, we have been also demanding a five-day week which is more of a necessity than luxury as in our current schedule we are not able to devote time to our research papers,” said ARSSF’s all-India president Dr IM Mishra.

Dr S Manivannam, the council’s all-India general secretary, said, “What we know is that the files regarding this issue keep rotating between ICAR management and finance ministry. No one has been able to explain to us the reasons behind the delay.”

Asked for his reaction, SK Mitra, director (personnel), ICAR, said, “I am not authorized to speak on the issue.”

Sanjeev Kumar, ARSSF’s district president and principal scientist at the Bareilly-based Central Avian Research Institute, said, “Most central government employees have been drawing the revised salary in accordance with the 7th pay commission for over a year. Moreover, the government has accepted the recommendations of the UGC Pay Review Committee. Even then we have been deprived of our right.”