GoI withholds RMSA funds as JK plays truant with MHRD guidelines

Greater Kashmir

The state government has to bear the brunt for not following the set guidelines framed by MHRD for implementation of RMSA.

Jammu and Kashmir government is likely to bear the additional burden of Rs 4.69 crore per month as the union ministry of human resource development withholds funds under Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), for the salaries of masters working in upgraded high and higher secondary schools.

The state government has to bear the brunt for not following the set guidelines framed by MHRD for implementation of RMSA.

Unlike previous years, instead of Rs 46000 pm, MHRD has released monthly salaries for the masters working under RMSA in upgraded schools, at the rate of Rs 27160 only.

“During the last four financial years MHRD used to release the salaries at the rate of Rs 46000 pm but this year they resisted and released only Rs 27160 for salaries of the masters,” officials in the education department said.

Sources said MHRD squeezed the flow of funds to Jammu and Kashmir as the state government didn’t implement their guidelines during the recruitment of subject specific teachers for the schools upgraded under RMSA scheme.

“MHRD asked JK govt to recruit subject specific teachers on contractual basis and agreed to pay their monthly salaries at the rate of Rs 27160, but department promoted the working teachers and elevated their pay scale as well,” officials said.

The elevation of pay scale resulted in additional requirement of funds for the salaries of the masters. “In the past MHRD would release salaries at the rate of Rs 45000 pm but the problem started of late as they curtailed the funds,” they added.

Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India launched RMSA scheme in March 2009 for enhancing access to secondary education and for improving its quality by upgrading both infrastructure and staff.

As per the provisions of the scheme, both the school and the staff of the upgraded schools are meant to be elevated and GoI as well as the state government provide funds in the ratio of 75:25.

“In previous years masters would get their normal salaries but curtailment of funds by MHRD has created chaos as the government will have to bear additional burden of Rs 4.69 per month to reimburse salary expenses,” officials added.

Mission Director RMSA, Shameem Ahmad Laharwal admitted the curtailment of funds and said MHRD didn’t agree to release money like previous years despite having several correspondences with them.

“This year they have made it clear that they will release money at the rate of Rs 27160 pm. They said either take masters at entry level or adopt contractual system for subject specific teachers under RMSA,” Laharwal said.

He said the matter was taken up with the government before releasing the salaries of the masters working in upgraded schools.

“The system for direct recruitment of masters is not in place but government has to think if they can recruit subject specific masters on contractual basis for upgraded schools. It is the discretion of the government, they have to think over it as we can’t interfere,” he added.

Notably, the direct recruitment of masters was abolished since 2002 after that the school education department introduced the promotion system which is in place in the current scenario.

Laharwal said the monthly salaries of the subject specific masters for January and February was released at the rate of Rs 27160 pm which in coming days can create a chaos in the department. “Obviously they will not agree to take salaries at the rate of Rs 27160 pm.”

After the implementation of RMSA scheme in JK from 2009, the upgradation of the schools has further complicated the matter for students acquiring admission in these schools as some posts of subject specific teachers in ‘upgraded schools’ are yet to be filled.

Also the upgradation of schools has resulted in the creation of 4700 vacancies including 526 posts of headmasters, 3132 posts of subject-specific teachers, 526 posts of junior assistants and 526 posts of lab assistants in Jammu and Kashmir.

As per RMSA guidelines, each school upgraded in 2010-11 needs to have seven post-graduate subject-specific teachers while each school upgraded in 2011-2012 needs to get five subject-specific post-graduate teachers.

Some schools are still waiting for the recruitment of vacant posts of junior assistants and lab assistants to be made by Services Selection Recruitment Board (SSRB). “Teaching posts are mostly filled regularly but the posts for non-teaching staff are vacant,” Laharwal said.

He said the non-teaching IV class and junior assistant posts were to be filled by school education department through Services Selection Recruitment Board (SSRB). “But I don’t know the reason for the delay in filling these non teaching posts,” he said.