Salaries, pensions held up for two months at premier MoD think tank

Questions on pay scales for contractual employees is one reason for non-release of funds, says official

The premier think tank functioning under the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies (MP-IDSA), has informed its faculty that they โ€œwill be unable to disburse salary and pension for August and September 2020โ€.

This is due to fund constraints after the MoD has sanctioned two instalments of grant-in-aid to MP-IDSA at only 15% of the sanctioned budget instead of 25% as per the regular practice, Director General (DG) Sujan R. Chinoy informed faculty in an email dated August 31. โ€œIn view of the above, there is a significant shortfall in the availability of funds with the institute,โ€ the email said.

One official at the institute said the DG has already taken up release of additional funds with the MoD. Since then a small tranche came in which was disbursed for salaries of Group C employees and pensioners, the official said. The issue has also been discussed by the Executive Council (EC), it is learnt.

The MP-IDSA was established in 1965 as a registered society and is funded by the MoD. It is governed by the EC with Defence Minister as the President and Defence and Foreign Secretaries as ex-officio members.

Some questions have been raised by Defence Finance, two officials with knowledge of the matter said. It has raised questions on the pay scales for contractual employees, said one of them. A committee was set up with MP-IDSA last week to respond to the questions from the Ministry.

The institute moved to contractual system in 1995 and that has since been institutionalised through the fellowship system, the official said. No Finance Ministry guideline says contractual staff canโ€™t have pay scale, the official said adding without pay scale, talent cannot be retained.

All decisions related to the institute are taken by the EC with the approval of the MoD, another official said. As a full grant institution, the MP-IDSA is eligible for all Central Pay Commissions.

According to the Global Go To Think Tank Index by the University of Pennsylvania which published annual rankings of global think tanks, the MP-IDSA was ranked 37 among non-U.S. ones for 2019.

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