Market pay suggested for scientists with government

March 24th, 2008 - 9:24 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) To help the government get quality scientific talent for its laboratories and institutions and reverse the brain drain, the Sixth Pay Commission has suggested market-driven salaries to young scientists and professionals. “Emoluments should not be a bar for recruiting a scientist of merit whose services are considered necessary,” the pay panel said in its report, presented to Finance Minister P. Chidambaram here Monday.

“Time-bound promotion schemes may be necessary for scientific organisations as the morale of scientists has to be kept high in order to keep them motivated and to stop the flight of talent from government organisations involved in research and scientific activities.”

The report has laid emphasis on an independent peer group rather than the `seniority’ to evaluate the achievements of the scientist.

Suggesting that a contract for hiring scientists should be for a period of three or five years, the report has also pointed out that both the employer (government) and the employee (scientist) should have the option of renewal of the contract.

The report stated the scientists should also be given an option of joining the government as a permanent employee in the regular scale of pay, allowances and other benefits at the time of contract renewal.

“The criteria for identifying institutions and organisations as scientific and technical institutions and defining scientists and scientific posts should be made more objective and stringent,” the report said.

The Pay Commission has recommended higher pay scales for all those with a degree in science and engineering.

Daljit S. Bedi, a senior scientist with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), who is also involved in policy making, termed the report as “positive”.

“We feel it is difficult to retain the young talent in the present salary. We expect not only to retain but also bring many young scientists back from abroad, once they get salaries comparable to the industry,” Bedi told IANS.

In fact, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has on many occasions expressed concern over deteriorating state of research in India and scientists leaving the country.

At the platinum jubilee celebrations of the National Academy of Sciences Oct 6, 2006, in Mumbai, he said: “Our brightest students have gone abroad and have done well in advanced fields of research. I am aware of the fact that many of them have been returning home, as visiting faculty at institutions in India.”

“Many are taking up work assignments in private sector research institutions and in research-based companies. This ‘reverse brain drain’ must be encouraged”.

Earlier, the National Knowledge Commission chaired by Sam Pitroda and constituted by the prime minister, had recommended scores of measures to resolve the current crisis in Indian research.

“The principle of differential remuneration based on performance and output is not followed to reward those who perform well and chastise those who do not. It should be addressed,” Pitroda said in his report submitted to the prime minister.

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