COAST Meeting at Bangalore – 21.09.2008
Second meeting of Confederation of Atomic and Space Scientists/Technologists (COAST) was held at Bangalore on 21st, September 2008. Scientists from various parts of the country, working in various units of DAE and DOS attended. A total of 22 members participated in the meeting and involved in all the deliberations. The members are from Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC)-Mumbai, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Centre-Kalpakkam, Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT)- Indore, Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC)- Hyderabad, Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration & Research (AMD)-Hyderabad, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC)-Trivandrum, ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC)- Bangalore, Master Control Facility (MCF)-Hassaan near Bangalore, National Remote sensing Agency (NRSA)- Hyderabad, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC)- Trivandrum etc. attended the meeting.
Scientists/Engineers met on the second COAST meeting exhibited the concern over the exodus of experienced scientists from these premier departments DAE & DOS. In order to attract and also retain the young scientific talents in these organisations, a 'Save India Campaign' was launched. The need for the separate pay package for the scientists/engineers in the country has been emphasized. It was vetted by the committee that a Ombudsman committee be formed with all the unit heads of these departments with the visible participation of DOS & DAE, COAST members too in order to address the grievances of the Scientists/Engineers and also to set right all the anomalies. Also COAST decided to forward the same request to PM and also seek his audience on these issues to protect he interests of the scientists/engineers in these premier research organizations.
It was also brought out by the committee to reduce the number of scientific posts and to have faster career growth in these departments. The committee also decided to bring forth a national level seminar to emphasize the significance of the development of indigenous science & Technology in our country to compete with the global market and also to cut down the inflations that is prevailing in the country.
COAST critically reviewed the present scenario and suggests these departments and also Government to take steps immediately to protect and preserve the robust knowledge base of these departments which otherwise will have a major set backs by the brain drain.
Scientists demand parity in salary
Bangalore: Scientists from the departments of space and atomic energy, including the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), have expressed “disappointment” over the verdict of the Sixth Pay Commission and have demanded parity of salaries with employees of other services such as the civil services.
The scientists, under the aegis of the Confederation of Atomic and Space Scientists/Technologists (COAST), wrote to the Prime Minister in May last but received no response, said S. Joseph Winston, Scientific Officer at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) and president of COAST.
COAST had, in the letter, pointed out that while young scientists join these departments at Rs. 21,000, they receive only a 65 per cent increment in 20 years, placing their salary at Rs. 36,000. COAST had also expressed concern that the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission “would lead to a collapse of the scientific and technological base in India.”
The attrition rate among scientists in these departments is alarming and the loss is an irreplaceable one, said Dr. Winston. “As these scientists have been specially trained, it is difficult to fill the post with qualified people. It is in the interest of the country to curtail this trend.”
Scientists have been choosing multinational companies, the information technology sector, and work overseas as salaries are more attractive, he said.
The pay package of the entry and middle level grades (scientific officers of grades C to E) in particular should be increased to retain them, said Dr. Winston. “The Prime Minister had promised a ‘Technology Excellence Pay’ as incentive, which is a sum equivalent to a minimum of 40 per cent of the scientists’ basic pay. He has not kept his promise.”
Another concern is that promotions in these departments take far longer than in other services such as the civil services. “Those who join the civil services are able to reach the position of joint secretary in 14 years, but it would take nearly 25 years for scientists to reach corresponding positions in the departments of space and atomic energy,” he said.