The veterinarians serving in the Department of Animal Husbandry & Veterinary, Government of Assam and those under the Assam Agricultural University (AAU) have been denied the benefits of non-practicing allowance (NPA) at the stipulated rate declared by the Government of India.
As per the order F No-7 (22) 8/III/99, GOI, Ministry of Finance, the fifth Central Pay Commission had recommended that posts requiring a degree of B V Sc & A H with registration of Veterinary Council of India (VCI) as the minimum qualification might be placed in a common entry grade corresponding to the entry scale applicable to general medical officers and dental doctors under the Central Government.
In the same order, it was clearly mentioned that NPA at a revised rate (25 per cent of the basic pay) might be granted with effect from January 1, 1996 to those incumbents holding veterinary posts.
Similarly, by order No F No/7(19) 2008-I(111)-A, GOI, Ministry of Finance, the Sixth Pay Commission recommended that doctors should continue to be paid NPA at the existing rate of 25 per cent of the aggregates of the pay band and grade pay subject to the condition that the basic plus NPA did not exceed Rs 85,000.
Consequent upon the acceptance of the Six Pay Commission by the Government, the President of India decided that NPA might be continued to be paid for the veterinary posts at the existing rate of 25 per cent of the basic pay.
After this order the Central Government, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and many state governments, including our neighbouring states viz Mizoram, Nagaland, and West-Bengal granted NPA to the veterinarians at the rate of 25 per cent of the basic pay.
Recently by another order F-No-Secy (ADF) 2989/2016 dated June 3, 2016 , the Ministry of Agriculture and Family Welfare, Department of Animal Husbandry Dairying and Fisheries directed the principal secretaries of all the states to implement the payment of NPA to the veterinarian in their respective states which till then had not executed.
It is unfortunate that the Government of Assam has not implemented this until today. The veterinarians serving in the Department of AH and Veterinary are getting not even a single penny as NPA.
The State Finance Minister Dr Himanta Biswasarma has recently declared NPA for the medicos in Assam. But the case of the veterinarians has not been considered.
On the other hand, the veterinarians serving under the AAU were granted a fixed NPA at the rate of Rs 450 for assistant professor and Rs 600 for associate professor and professor way back in 1992, during the Hiteswar Saikia regime, which has not been revised since then.
A decision to revise the same to Rs 600 and Rs 850 was taken in the meeting of the Board of Management (BOM) of AAU in the year 1997. The AAU authority committed to implementing the revised rate of NPA when the financial position of the University would improve.
But the same has not been implemented till date. The veterinarians in this University have to be complacent with this meagre amount as NPA while their counterparts in the central agricultural universities and many state agricultural universities are drawing NPA at the rate of 25 per cent of the basic pay.
It is worth mentioning, that the Teachers’ Association of Veterinary Faculty and Teachers’ Representatives to the BOM, AAU are maintaining conspicuous silence over the matter for such a long time. It is high time for the Assam Veterinary Service Association, Teachers’ Association of Veterinary Faculty of AAU and the Assam veterinary Council to work in tandem to fulfil this just demand of the veterinarians in Assam.
Dr M N Ray is a senior faculty at the College of Veterinary Science, Assam Agricultural University, Khanapara, Guwahati