Madurai: In a shocker to staff of various universities in the state, Tamil Nadu Government has ordered recovery of excess payment running into lakhs of rupees from those given "wrong promotions or increments", to avert financial problems in the institutions.
According to a copy of the September 27 circular issued by Higher Education Principal Secretary Apurva Varma, the registrar of universities had been directed to take suitable action to "re-fix the pay, reverse the wrong promotions/increments given" as they were being mentioned repeatedly in audit reports.
What had upset the staff was the order to recover the excess amount from the individual employees. For example, one staff who retired from the Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) last month had been asked to pay Rs 10 lakh.
The same was the fate of hundreds of other staff. Though no deadline had been given for the recovery, the officials said they had started implementing the order from this month.
Officials of the various universities told that the teaching staff had been paid only UGC pay scales and given promotion under Career Advancement Scheme/Career Development Scheme (CAS/CDS).
Pay revisions, fixations and promotions were given only with the approval of the syndicate on the instructions from the UGC and the government.
However, in the process of implementation, auditors had raised some objections. From time to time, the objections were dealt administratively, and they were dropped by the audit accepting the replies given by the universities, they said.
MKU officials said the government had on October 25, 2000 advised them to send proposals for release of grant pertaining to the university after deducting the excess expenditure due to such promotions which should be borne by the universities.
Then in March 2005, the government instructed to drop the audit objections after ensuring expenditure incurred due to the wrong promotion and additional concessions granted to the staff are deducted from the sanctioned grant of the university concerned. Till today the instructions were being carried out.
Now the government had withdrawn the March 2005 letter, and was asking the registrars to deduct excess payment from the salary of the respective staff, they said.
In MKU alone, a total of 217 teaching staff and 506 non- teaching staff were working and most of them were covered in any one of the objections, the officials said.
The "shocking factor", according to a functionary of MKU Teachers Association, the audit objections relating to the teaching staff alone would come to Rs.6.5 crore and for non-teaching staff Rs.7.5 crore (for the university).
If the university started to recover the benefits already granted by the syndicate for the last so many years, the staff would suffer and a lot and retiring staff would be put into trouble and mental agony.
"We cannot bear such a huge recovery," the functionary said.
The employees said the benefits already sanctioned be allowed for retiring and existing staff, and in future for the new entrants the new reforms could be followed.