In a world of make-believe

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Just a day after Teachers’ Day, I saw this news piece “30 Teachers honored with state awards” on Arunachal Times (Sept. 6, 2014), where it was also mentioned about SSA (contractual) Teachers’ salary. Allow me to quote the sentence from the newspaper, “Our state is paying the highest salary to SSA teachers in the country”. It could be true, so I don’t question or challenge this statement. However, did they bear the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in mind when they make such statements? Did they reckon the inflated prices of commodities and how they command money in exchange for itself in Arunachal? Do they make any attempt to forestall it? Do they know that shopkeepers in some places of Arunachal refuse to accept 25 and 50 paisa as a medium of exchange? It’s weird, but true. Do they know that regular teachers make twice our current salary even though the workloads are same? What about them (MLAs in Arunachal)? Their salary is highest in the country – their basic pay is Rs. 30,000. And this does not include perks like daily allowance, constituency allowance, office expenses and conveyance allowance. And what makes the Engineers and Doctors of Arunachal qualify for big salary? Ever since I could remember, the condition of Karsingsa road in Itanagar has not improved at all. And all see in Arunachal is ugly cumbersome concrete buildings and bridges. Where’s the provision for pedestrians on roadways? Where are the zebra crossings in Arunachal road? I guess that’s why the engineers deserve big salary. As for the Doctors, they would still run their private clinics despite getting non-practicing allowance (NPA). However, the financial incentive has not kept the doctors away from private medical practice.

By the way, let’s see how much does a SSA teacher get paid in a month. The figure of SSA junior teacher salary is Rs. 26,453 in Arunachal. Consolidated salary. Do they get it at regular interval? No. They have to wait at least two months to get paid, and the number of days can go up to 6 months. How do they maintain their families in-between? They borrow money at high interest rate (range from 3% -10% in a month, which means 30% – 100% in a year) from local moneylenders. Why aren’t they taking any advantage of personal loans provided by nationalized banks? The interest rate is much lower. Well, only if they are eligible for such. They are not eligible to draw personal loan because their salaries are not methodical and systematic.

Highest salary, it may be. After considering everything we went through in a year, the statement appears to be sheer mocking. They may think that they are doing us a favor by giving us an employment opportunity. But the fact remains – exploitation. For your kind information, not long ago I declined a job offer from abroad so as to give  something back to my native state. And I would like to see my state prospers and moves in a right direction. We are happy to be a part of intellectual development, but ostentation is something I can’t really absorb.

I don’t know whether Labor Statistic in India ever conducted Cost of Living Index in Arunachal. Sometimes ago I saw a report where Assam was shown as highest cost of living index value in India. I wonder where Arunachal will be in that list. You know, whenever there’s a rupee increment in petrol or diesel prices, the public transport operators in Arunachal also increased their fare by Rs. 50. Rs. 50 from each passenger. And they always forget to lower the fare when the fuel prices are revoked. With our highest salary; will we be able to afford to lead a dignified life, let alone our own house.

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