Process to release SSA teachers’ salaries underway: Education Minister

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Education Minister Lakhmen Rymbui

SHILLONG, March 14: Meghalaya government is considering releasing the pending salaries of the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) teachers in the state as it has received a sanction of Rs 94.63 crore.

Replying to a call attention motion moved by Congress legislator from Nongpoh Mayralborn Syiem on the All Meghalaya SSA School Teachers Association (AMSSASTA)’s demand to immediately release their four-month pending salaries, education minister Lahkmen Rymbui told the Assembly on Thursday that a sanction of Rs 94,63,37,100 was received on March 5 and the state government will consider release of salaries to the teachers.

AMSSASTA has threatened to launch agitation programmes by shutting down the SSA schools if the state government fails to comply with its demand by March 22.

The minister however assured that the procedure for early release of salary is already under process and the final release to the district level will be disbursed at the earliest and said, “Meanwhile, the Government of India fund release is also under process.”

Rymbui informed that the percentage of fund release by the Government of India in the last three years is 44 percent in 2016-17, 71 percent in 2017-18 and 31 percent as on March 7, this year, which is minimal and delayed release in many aspects.

“This fluctuation in the fund release has greatly affected the smooth functioning of the scheme, especially the timely release of salary of teachers, inclusive education coordinators, special educators, vocational trainers and other non-teaching staff under SSA,” he said.

The minister also apprised the House that the Plan Approved Board (PAB) has through the years committed on the Annual Work Plan & Budget (AWP&B) proposed by the state government.

He however lamented that the release of fund against the PAB has never been consistent and this has led to the disparity in the payment of salary to teachers.

According to him, there was a shortfall of Rs 277785.76 lakh against the total amount of Rs 40796.07 lakh approved by the PAB including salary for SSA as only Rs 13010.31 lakh was released by the Centre during the year 2018-2019.

Meanwhile, Rymbui said that the state government is determined and committed in taking adequate steps to ensure that teachers should receive their salary regularly.

The education department has adopted a mechanism with the active support of the state government to safeguard the welfare of teachers in particular and the quality outcome of education in the state as a whole through the introduction of a Corpus fund during 2017-18.

He said the department has received sanction of Rs 7,807.09 lakh on December 20, last year and payment of salary for the month of September and October 2018 was released to SSA and RMSA’s academic staff amounting to Rs 5590.27 lakh.