Friday, July 31, 2009

Pay scales

The issue of revised pay scales in IIT/IISc/IIMs was raised recently in the Rajya Sabha. You can read the complete text here.

Will the Minister of HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT be pleased to state :-
(a) whether Govardhan Mehta Pay Review Committee which is looking into the pay package to faculty of IITs, NITs, IIMs, IISERs of the country has submitted its report;
... by when Government is going to implement the report?


The report of the Govardhan Mehta Committee was considered by an Inter-Ministerial Committee. The recommendations of the committee are under process.
The discussion on the above report and the associated allowances has been published in the blog before.

In case one is not aware, questions to the HRD ministry are posed every tuesday. The answers are provided rather quickly and, if the answers are not provided, it is marked as pending question. Questions and answers on brain drain, opening of IIT/IIMs abroad, research students, campus selections are always interesting.


Anonymous said...

So according to the report of this committee, how much would a starting assistant professor get in IITs/IISc?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. Is it true that the pay scales recommended by the Mehta committee are only marginally better compared to what UGC faculty makes? Since the number of technical teachers is very limited, this would probably mean a marginal cost increase to the treasury. Are they really dragging their feet over money then? Even after looking at the revised pay scales for Assistant Professors in India, I was rethinking my decision to join. Now, after all the procrastination, I said yes to an offer in the private sector yesterday. I will never think of working for the government again!

After reading the Mehta report, I realized two things: a) The committee met a lot of Assistant professors and young faculty and got suggestions for higher pay, PB-4 placement, performance based incentive, etc. and b) The committee ignored all of them in the final recommendation.

As a scientist of fame, I am sure that if Prof. Mehta made a lot of observations in the lab, he would probably develop a new theory with all the data points he gathered. I wouldn't imagine, even in my dreams, that a scientist would throw away valuable data.

God, please help the future of education in India, it's all in your hands now.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to add to my above post, the following. I am coming back to India after many years abroad and had applied to some IITs (new and old) and a few companies in the private sector. My private sector offers are at 4X the basic+GP+DA+HRA that the REVISED Asst. Prof. pay would be, if the government accepted the recommendations. Many years ago, when I left India, I was disgusted with the Babu Raj around me. Now that I am headed back, I see that nothing has fundamentally changed. Very disappointing indeed!

Anonymous said...

What you dolts do not understand is that these are government pay scales for government jobs. Go to the best engineering colleges in India like NIT. No faculty works for more than 2-3 hours a day and the only papers that they read are the newspapers. They have not published in any journal for years and are unlikely to get employment anywhere.


"They are often only a couple of years out of college (with a Bachelor’s degree, often from the same college) themselves. Their motivations for becoming faculty vary, but the most common reason they end up there is because they could not find an alternative job. This can be verified by looking at the age and backgrounds of faculty in the popular engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu. No doubt many of them are dedicated to their students, but that would still not make them expert in the complex subject matters they are asked to teach their students."

IITs may be slightly better. But many IIT faculty would not have got admitted there as a student. When I studied in IIT-Bombay, we have a quotation,

"If you can not become a B.Tech student, then become a M.Tech student; If you are not able to become a M.Tech student, then become a Ph.D student; If you are not able to even become a Ph.D student, become a faculty; Worse, if you are unable to become a faculty, then become the director"

For a long time, the director of IIT-B was not from the faculty of IIT-B.


Anonymous said...

I fully agree with Krishnan. To be promoted to professor in UGC, you need five publications in any national or international journals. IITs are no better, maybe they require 10. Many Ph.D students have 5 publications. So, they are qualified enough to become professor in UGC universities.

Unless one agrees that the quality of education in these universities is pathetic and students from these places do well because of placebo effects and despite government-paid useless staff, we will not go far.

Ranking of universities in India is ranking different gutters. You do not want to be near any of them as staff or faculty and thus all rankings are pointless.


Anonymous said...

One reason for not implementing higher pay scales in IIT/IIMs compared to UGC is to make them unattractive.

If they remain unattractive, good faculty will migrate to foreign private universities that will be setup. And they will pay these ministers some cut.


Anonymous said...

It really makes one wonder what Prof. Mehta's committee recommended about IITs/IIMs/IISc salary. One would hope that Prof. Mehta would better understand the needs of faculty in India's best technical institutions as he comes from IISc. But it is not very surprising as thinking of people has not kept pace with India's growth, economy and needs. A proof of this was seen few years back when IITM Director publicly said "those who worship Goddess Lakshmi can not be worshipers of Goddess Saraswati". Sounds very idealistic in listening in a speech but very reflective of an old thinking. The fact IITM Director forgets that money is very important for research as well as personal life. Money is not everything but it is very very important. Those who want to deny it are just living in a state of denial.

Singapore's PM said "if you pay peanuts then you will only hire monkeys". So true!!!! Today IITs are nowhere in terms of research "quality and quantity" even in comparison with Top Singapore Universities like NTU.

It is just a matter of time when private US Universities will open Indian campuses. There will be exodus of TOP faculty from IITs/IISc to these places. That situation will either fully revive IITs or totally kill them.

Anonymous said...

You dolts still do NOT understand what is meant by a government salary.

The highest salary in the government (other than president, vice-president) is the cabinet secretary. This pays Rs. 90000. Next is secretary which is 80000 per month. The director of IIT/IISc is in this scale.

You guys want four times the current salary i.e., 1.5 lakhs for an assistant professor, which is same as the president of India.

Totally ridiculous without understanding what government pay is. See the following atleast before commenting


Anonymous said...


First, please stop name calling. It shows a lack of education on your part and the last place people like you should be visiting is an education related blog.

About government salaries, do you even know that in the United States, several presidents of Major Public (Government) Universities make more money as salary than President Obama does. This archaic idea in your head that a university professor should make less than a babu in Delhi, who in turn should make less than the president is symptomatic of what needs to be changed in Delhi.

Please do some reading on market rates. If a babu is fired, he will make comparable wages in the private sector, some good IAS officers do quit and earn MBA-type salaries in the industry. Most engineering professors from IITs/IIScs can make 4-6X their academic wages in the industry (good ones that is). So, if we want a free market in education, we need to pay more than peanuts (as a previous poster mentioned). Monkeys are available aplenty and peanuts are very attractive to them!


Anonymous said...


Salary of Obama = $400,000
*average* salary of professor in top US university = $100,000 to 150,000

Ratio: 3-4

Salary of President of India = 1.5 lakhs
average salary of professor in India = 75,000

Ratio : 2.

Which is better? Pray, tell me how many science and engineering professors in USA earn more than 400,000 a year? maybe 5%

If professors in IIT are good, they can earn much more by consulting and other grants and fellowships. Some of them earn more than 2-3 lakhs per month. But you can not expect the government to make it the average salary for all professors.

Further, how many jobs are in India like IIT where you can never get fired?


Anonymous said...

Ok, let's bring this Krishnan-Balakrishnan debate to an end :-)

I agree with much of what you have to say. I still think that you are making a fundamental mistake by indexing everything to the salary of the president of India/US. This is the OLD way of thinking, and does not follow market economics.

Market economics is based on demand and supply. Engineers with PhDs make much more money in the industry because there aren't simply many to go around. The wages are set by this. A current EE PhD with 3+ years exp. (minimum requirement for a EE Asst. Professor in IISc) in Bangalore makes more than 2 lakhs a month.
Under the new pay commission, he/she would be making about 60k
a month in IISc. That extra money is a big deal for many people, specially those who are just starting out in life with small kids, elderly parents etc. So, not following market economics will only lead to a small set of candidates who don't care or have the need for money, but still are good enough to command a Rs. 2 lakh/mo salary in the industry.
Otherwsie, you will attract substandard people.

Your point about job security and ability to consult is well taken and I agree. It is likely that a good researcher will be able to make an extra 1.4 lakhs a month in consultancy and take care of the shortfall.

Lastly, since you have mentioned the professors' salary in US, let me make a point. An Asst. Prof in Engineering in a US University typically makes $80-100K a year in salary. This same person would probably make $100-120k in the industry. This 20% short fall is fair enough to accept if your heart is in research. A 70% short fall, as in India, is too much to accept.

A solution will be to let the top institutes set their own wages. That way, you can still attract top faculty into the top universities without having to pull the whole bandwagon with you. How the universities will fund this, will need to be worked out.


Anonymous said...

Dear Balakrishnan,

Let us go by

An assistant professor will get

Basic + Grade Pay : 40,000
Dearness allowance (DA): 9,000
House Rent Allowance, HRA : 15,000
Travelling Allowance (TA): 3,200
Academic Allowance : 1,500
Telephone : 1,500

Thus, the pay is around 75 thousand. Add to this fringe benefits like free schooling for children in Kendriya vidyalaya, leave travel allowance for entire family etc., vacation for three months every years, one year off every six years. During vacation, one can earn in dollars abroad, if one wants to. Then consider the fellowships offered by the government which is few lakhs a year. And consulting by several companies on campus.

I am from IIT-B and now IIT-B also pays people in administrative positions like dean, warden etc. Consulting is also high.

Remember, government scales are the same whether the professor in EE, economics or english or physics. In US, a faculty in engineering earns more than a humanities professor.

Think of government paying you a base for everyone and leave it to the individual to make more money depending on the capability to get those fellowships and consult, go abroad every year and earn etc.

But do not expect the government to raise the salaries of everyone in universities and IITs. That does not make any sense in a large government controlled Indian system.


gs said...

I follow this blog regularly and for quite some time. I believe that many of my colleagues at IITkgp or other IITs also do so. My sincere thanks to Prof. Giridhar.

Since there are many like me who benefit from this blog from India and abroad, some of them are aspiring faculty members of the IITs, I think I should respond to one observation of an alumnus of IITB.

---- Quote ----
IITs may be slightly better. But many IIT faculty would not have got admitted there as a student. When I studied in IIT-Bombay, we have a quotation,

"If you can not become a B.Tech student, then become a M.Tech student; If you are not able to become a M.Tech student, then become a Ph.D student; If you are not able to even become a Ph.D student, become a faculty; Worse, if you are unable to become a faculty, then become the director"
---- Unquote ----

I did my BTech in one of the IITs (1986-1990). I had many friends who did not crack IIT-JEE when I did but they were no less good and doing quite well in their career. I am now teaching in a IIT for more than seven years. Before that I taught in a Pvt. Engg. College of India for about three years. I have seen many IIT-BTech.s and nonIIT-BTech.s. My humble observation is : The top 10 percent BTechs in any other college is definitely better than bottom 10 percent of IITs. For better managed other colleges even the top 50 percent are better than bottom 50 percent of IITs or more.

As a research faculty I am handling IIT BTechs (final year project), MTech, MS and PhD students. The last three categories are filled up definitely not by IIT BTechs who look for greener pastures. I must say that I am impressed by these non-IITians (mostly MS & PhD) dedication, thirst for knowledge, perseverance. These qualities are largely absent in most of the IIT BTechs who are looking for a short cut to success.

I remember an old adage : It is not important where you stand but the direction you go.

IIT BTechs are good as long as their direction is right. Non IIT BTechs deserve more kudos as they are the ones living up to the challenge and need of the country which their IIT counterpart largely avoids. And this includes the responsibility of raising/educating IIT BTech.s.

I hope I have not offended anyone - just wanted to comment on some well preserved myths. If any IIT BTech student/guardian is reading this comment, my request would be to consider the following - (1)Please treat that the admission to an IIT is beginning of the journey, not the end of it. I have seen many IIT BTechs spoiling themselves in my batch and more now. (2)Please don't pay attention to somebody preaching you that IIT faculty members are sub-standard (since most of them have not cracked IIT-JEE as one IIT-JEE doesn't make or break one's life). IITs have stringent quality checks in faculty recruitment (3)Compared to their counter parts in advanced countries who get the toppers from India, China, South Korea, ... IIT faculty usually gets 5th level students of India (not IIT BTech, not NIT BTech, not IIT MTech, not toppers from Pvt. College) for their research Lab.s. They still manage to do international level work. The students (whom a faculty in a good university abroad will not dare to admit in his group) raise themselves so well in four years - it is wonderful to watch that transformation as a faculty guide (4)Finally, please remember, 'Shraddhaban labhate Jnanam' - 'The one who respects, learns'. Respect your teacher, parents, country - you will do well in life.

Regarding 6PC, I have nothing to add. I am happy with what I am getting or whatever is finally offered.

Anonymous said...

I graduated with a B.Tech. from IIT (and now a faculty in US). I concur with following comment made by GS.

"The top 10 percent BTechs in any other college is definitely better than bottom 10 percent of IITs."

However, his/her comment about bottom 50% is highly exaggerated.

I have traveled several NITs former RECs) and met several of the faculty and HODs (when they visit US)....I am amazed at the vast difference between "faculty quality" and "dedication" between IIT system and RECs. Majority of the IIT faculty is way ahead in quality, and dedication towards teaching as compared to NITs. (One example: I receive several post doc applications from NIT faculty who can't write a simple email). There are 100s of examples but this space is too short.

Top 10% students of any class are always good because they are self motivated. Rest needs guidance from the faculty which is very minimal in NITs (forget mushrooming shops of private colleges through nexus of businessman/politicians and AICTE).

In larger view, we should view a person/student with his/her credentials and capabilities. Cracking IIT/JEE is one of the achievements but that is just the beginning and not the end.

Other institutions need to earn respect and trust of students/parents like IIT system has done over the years. Of course IIT system is not perfect, but still it is the BEST in the country. It teaches "how to learn", which is the most important lesson.

P.S. There are good faculty in NITs too but that number is very small.

gs said...

Thank you Sir for your observation. My previous post was a long one. Therefore, the rider 'for better managed' may have been missed when I said "For better managed other colleges even the top 50 percent are better than bottom 50 percent of IITs or more". I taught both - a well managed nonIIT college in India as well as IIT for considerable time. I agree that individual experiences may differ. Whether it is large intake, increasingly skewed teacher-student ratio, or take-it-easy attitudes of the so called IITians, degradations are creeping in and fast. However, we as IIT faculty are trying hard through introspection, counseling, challenging students, setting benchmarks, setting up an environment of all round developments. Thanks and regards.

Giri@iisc said...

Dear Krishnan,

I am not going to comment in detail regarding your post. Prof. GS has already done a wonderful job in that.

In IISc, we hardly recruit anyone who has not studied in IIT/IISc/top 20 schools in USA. To claim that JEE is the holy grail in ridiculous. JEE does not judge research skills. To succeed in research requires not only intelligence but also motivation, hard work and perseverance.

Regarding money, your point is well taken that government can not increase pay for everyone. It can only provide a base salary in which one can lead a comfortable life. If any faculty wants to earn more than that, there are several options, as you point out.



Anonymous said...

Dear Prof. GS,

I agree that current crop of IIT B. Tech. students have "take it easy" attitude. But I don't blame them 100% for this change. They know that they will get well paid jobs in IT/Financial industry even without working very hard. Good or bad...but that is largely true(current recession being an exception).

I wonder if someone has data on what percentage of IIT B.Tech graduates in last 15 years has joined and stayed in the "core engineering" industry. I bet this number is very small. Same would be true for other good engineering colleges. Most of the engineering and manufacturing companies like to hire fresh engineers from remote colleges as they cost less and fear of attrition is low.

I believe this is thermodynamics of economics and will reach equilibrium naturally. Something similar to what Tom Friedman said in his book "The world is flat".



Anonymous said...

I work at Stanford in Physics and going back to India this year. Let me tell you, its very personal decision for everybody to where they want to go. If you want to take the risk and work like machines (with no freedom) you are are welcomed to go to industry. You are there today but may be working in Walmart next day. Academic stands on its own feet in different way. You do what you like to do. Obviously you pay for this freedom: that is less money.
I wouldn't say 70k/month (revised pay scale) for asst/assoc profs are that bad. Again, if you are going to academy, never think about money. Be happy in what you have. YOU SHOULD NEVER COMPLAIN BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHY YOU CAME TO ACADEMIC. If you want more money, you should never go to academic.

By the way, i disagree somebody's comment that "if you are not B-tech then go to Mtech. If you cann't be Mtech, be PhD. If you cann't be PhD, then go to faculty...". Garbage.... . I know people topped in IIT and are physics faculty in india getting may be few tens of thousands/month.