Aligarh Muslim University: 5,500 Ex-Employees Paid Half Pension as UGC Slashes Funds

Citing lack of funds, the university has also stopped providing full retirement benefits to the eligible for over a year.

New Delhi: In his time, Hamid Ali has been acting vice-chancellor, dean, director, four-time chairman and also the elected president of the teachers’ association at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). However, despite all this, he says he feels betrayed by the university. Ali has only received half the pension amount for this month.

“They have funds for everything except our retirement benefits, such as leave encashment and gratuity. On top of that, I only received half of my pension for the last month,” says Ali, who is among the oldest professors of AMU. He served the university from 1980 until his retirement in November last year.

More than 5,500 retired AMU staff have received only half of their pensions for the month of October. The reason for this is that the University Grants Commission (UGC) has not released the full amount for pensioners. This is not all. Many pensioners have not been receiving their full retirement benefits due to non-availability of funds since 2019.

Ali has three daughters, and one of whom has recently gone abroad for higher education. He has taken a loan for her education, and the slash in his pension amount is a cause of great concern for him.

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Aftab Alam, a professor of political science at the varsity, has written an open letter to his colleagues recently, raising these concerns. “This month pensioners (both teaching and non-teaching staff) have received just half of their pension amount,” the letter states.

The letter further adds that it has compounded the woes of many retired employees who have not been paid their full retirement benefits, including encashment of leaves, arrears of pay, gratuity, and commuted value of pension for the last few years. Alam is also a member of AMU’s executive council.

“At this critical juncture, I don’t want to get involved in the usual blame game. I would rather work for the solution,” he says.

Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) president Rajib Ray and Jamia’s Teachers’ Association (JTA) Secretary Majid Jamil have pointed out that there is no such issue of their varsities’ respective pensioners.

AMU public relations officer Shafey Kidwai has told The Wire that since 2019, the payments have been unstable for the obvious reason that there is a fund shortage. “The UGC has not released enough funding, otherwise, why would the university not pay pensioners? We are making every effort for them,” he has added.

He has also pointed out that AMU vice-chancellor Tariq Mansoor has recently held a meeting with the UGC to raise the concerns of the pensioners, while adding that the other 50% funds under the pensioners’ head will soon be transferred to the pensioners’ accounts.