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Monday, June 24, 2024

SSA teachers ask govt to release Rs 104 crore for pending salary


The Meghalaya SSA School Teachers Association (MSSASA) has demanded immediate release of additional fund of Rs 104 crore for the State Project Director’s office to pay salaries pending for almost five months.

Speaking at press conference on Thursday, MSSASA president Aristotle Rymbai disclosed details of the RTI findings which they had sought on January 18 this year.

It was in December last year that the state government had released the salary of two months – August and September — while that for October to February is still pending.

On November 16 last year, the association had written to the secretary to the Education department, Ambrose Marak, suggesting that the state government release the additional fund amounting to Rs 104 crore, which is lying with it for three years. They followed this up with a reminder on December 28.

With no action on the part of the government, the association filed an RTI application on January 18 this year in the office of the State Project Director and received the reply on February 16.

As per the letter of Ambrose Marak on November 2, 2021 to the Directorateof Institutional Finance, he requested the Finance department to release the additional fund to be borne by the state government as per capping norms of Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) for payment of SSA teachers’ salary.

The financial norm of the SSA is that the central government will support payment of teacher’s salary for lower primary schools to the tune of Rs 15,000 per month and for upper primary schools, Rs 20,000 per month.

Rymbai informed that Rs 32, 19, 38, 724 is the additional amount to be borne by the state government as per the capping norms of SSA for payment of SSA teachers’ salary.

“If we club the two – lower primary and upper primary — the fund needed for payment of SSA teachers’ salary annually comes to Rs 298, 29, 38, 724. So, the financial support approved by the Project Approval Board (PAB) of the government of India for payment of salaries for SSA teachers is Rs 266, 10, 00, 000. And the additional amount which is to be borne by the state government annually comes to around Rs 32, 19, 38, 724,” Rymbai said.

Rymbai said that there are 5814 lower primary teachers and the state government pays them Rs 19, 044 each while 6727 constitute the upper primary school teachers and salary paid by the government is Rs 20, 493 each.

He questioned the gap and said, “Why is there a gap here? As per the financial norms of Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, it is clearly mentioned that the central government will support the salary of Rs 15,000 per month for each lower primary teacher while the state government pays us Rs 19,044 which means the additional amount of Rs 4044 is to be borne by the state government from the state budget.”

“And for upper primary school teachers, the government of India extends financial support of Rs 20,000 per month per teacher which means Rs 493 is to be borne by the state government. If we add up the two figures, annually it comes to around Rs 32, 19, 38, 724,” he said.

Rymbai further elaborating on Rs 104 crore as per the RTI reply, he said that in 2019-20, the money which is still lying with the state government was Rs 34.10 crore, in 2020-21 it was Rs 33.946 crore, while in 2021-22 it is Rs 36.32 crore which comes to Rs 104.366 crores.

Arguing the state government’s stand that it is waiting for the second instalment from the Centre to pay the pending salary, he said, “Instead of waiting for second instalment from the Center, why not release the amount of Rs 104 crore which is lying with the government for three years?”

He further said that the Union Minister of Education, Ramesh Pohkriyal, has written to Chief Minister Conrad Sangma that it is the duty of the state government to bear the additional amount.

He said, “So, we are surprised as to why our chief minister is trying to misguide or mislead the SSA and people of Meghalaya that we depend totally on the central government as per the funding pattern, which is 90:10, whereas the letter (from Pokhriyal to CM) says otherwise.”

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