Meghalaya: CM to convene joint meeting next week to address SSA teachers’ demand
TNT Desk | Shillong, March 17, 2018:
Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma will convene a joint meeting between the education department and the finance department next week to find a solution to the issue related to releasing of pending dues to over 12,000 SSA teachers in the state.
The assurance was given to a delegation of the Meghalaya Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Schools Association (MSSASA) during a meeting held here on Thursday.
"He (Conrad) has assured that by next week he would call a joint meeting of the two departments to discuss on the issues and find out solution to pay the pending dues of 12,481 SSA teachers," MSSASA president Aristotle C. Rymbai said.
The association in its memorandum submitted to the chief minister has demanded immediate release of eight months pending arrears and salary of last financial year 2016-17 from July 2016 to February 2017 and five months salary of current academic year from November 2017 to March, this year.
According to Rymbai, the irregular transfer of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan budget to Meghalaya by the Ministry of Human Resources Development has become a problem in the last two years.
During 2016-17, the Project Approval Board (PAB) Ministry of Human Resources Development has approved an estimate budget of Rs 45124.44 lakh for implementation of activities under SSA Programme.
Of this, only Rs 21365.90 lakh was received by State Implementing Society (SIS) Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan State Education Mission Authority Meghalaya (SSA-SEMAM) as on March 31, 2017 which has also been admitted in Finance Department on April 5, 2017.
As such, there was a shortfall in receipt of fund of Rs 23758.54 lakh for which Teachers Arrear Salary of Rs 8951.39 lakh of 12481 SSA Teachers could not be paid leading to incurring committed liability to that extent during the year 2016-17, he said.
He informed that the Principal Secretary DP Wahlang, who is also state mission director of SEMAM-SSA, had also sent multiple letters to the state government requesting for allocation of adequate funds from state budget to SEMAM-SSA to enable release of pending dues. Earlier the MUA – II was requested multiple times by the Teacher's Union for release of adequate funds to State Implementing Society SEMAM-SSA from State Budget for payment of SSA teachers' pending arrear salary of 2016-17 and salary of current academic year but response to this has not been received.
It may also be mentioned, the amount provided by Ministry of Finance at Budget Estimate 2017-18 is Rs. 23,500.00 crore. Against the above estimates, Government of India shall provide to Government of Meghalaya Rs 200.00 crore as its Central share as per Section 7(3) of the RTE Act and Government of Meghalaya would contribute Rs 22.2 crore as its State share matching the above Central share as per the existing fund sharing pattern of SSA.
Further, the Project Approval Board (PAB) Meeting for considering the Annual Work Plan and Budget (AWP&B) 2017-18 for SSA for the State of Meghalaya approved an estimate budget of Rs.463,27,33.000 crore for implementation of SSA-RTE, which the Central Government shall provide Rs. 200.00 crore as its Central Share and the remaining balance funds necessary to fulfill the estimate for the implementation of the Act, Government of Meghalaya should meet this balance amount from its own resources as per Section 7(5) of the RTE Act, 2009, and recommendation of 14th Finance Commission. "But unfortunately Government of Meghalaya during the tenure of MUA-II led by Congress denied of taking responsibility as per provision of the RTE Act which has affected the livelihood of the 12,481 SSA teachers in various aspects," Rymbai said.
Meanwhile, the MSSASA also demanded the state government to consider merging/regularisation of all existing posts of primary and upper primary SSA teachers to state education department as per mandatory norms of SSA and RTE Act, 2009.
Rymbai said the Government of India has clear cut norms under SSA and RMSA wherein State/Union Territories are given financial support of salary of teachers with a condition these posts of teachers shall be created in States/Union Territories Education Department on regular basis with same salary and service conditions as of State budget teachers.
In Meghalaya, he however said that it was found that the state government committed a mistake and allowed creation of these posts under State SSA Implementation Society known as SSA-SEMAM on contractual basis for whom different service arrangement have been spelt out and the 5766 Primary and 6715 Upper Primary SSA teachers were posted only in SSA supported Schools in the State.
"There is urgent need of creation of the said posts under Education Department after shifting from State implementation Society as per mandatory norms of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Right to Education Act 2009, RTE amendment Act 2012," Rymbai stated.