Published: 23rd November 2020
Kerala state government to help Sainik School, but won't shoulder pension burden
It was reported on October 12 on the school’s fate on the brink of insolvency as its deficit has been steadfastly increasing since 2012 which led the students, the school authorities to seek help
At a time when the finance department's Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) has come under the radar, they have brought joy to scores of current students, teachers and staff of Sainik School Kazhakootam and also to thousands of former students who had passed out from the prestigious institution. The finance department has agreed to help the school's running with effect from April 1, 2021, to avoid the insolvency. The agreement is that the ownership of the land shall vest with the State Government. Though this is only a partial win for the SSK authorities, the finance department is hesitant to take up the pension expenses of the staff where they have urged finance minister TM Thomas Isaac to reconsider this issue as well.
TNIE had reported on October 12 on the school’s fate on the brink of insolvency as its deficit has been steadfastly increasing since 2012 which led the students, the school authorities and the Old Boys Association (OBA) seeking the State Government’s helping hand. Later on October 24, TNIE came up with a follow-up report stating that Thomas Isaac had returned unfavourably to the proposal to take over the burden of pensions and retirement benefits of the employees.
This led the students and members of OBA resorting to kicking start a social media campaign to save their school from the brink of insolvency. As per the letter addressed to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the finance department has agreed to sign the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with effect from the next fiscal year subject to two conditions. The ownership of the land shall vest with the State Government and secondly the pension expenses will not be borne by them. A top official of the SSK told TNIE that this is only a partial victory where they are awaiting further directions from the State Government. He also added that it will be State’s loss in future if there is a setback to the running of the school, where there will be 50 per cent reduction in Malayali officer’s representation in the forces.
“The Kerala government cannot pass the buck to the centre on the pension issue as they have already done their bit by appointing top officials comprising principal, vice-principal, headmaster, registrar and an administrative officer who has all been deputed from the military force. It is not the matter of education alone as it will be the State who will end up losing a prestigious institution where the mantra itself is to catch the student’s young and groom them to be a dedicated and committed officer for the second-largest military force in the world”, said a top SSK official.
Lieutenant General Cherish Mathson who was the 9th General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Jaipur based Sapta Shakti Command who had been relentlessly fighting for his Alma mater expressed his happiness with the State Government’s gesture.
“I am requesting before the State Government to reconsider the pension issue as by 2035 the pension burden will be over as now the contributory New Pension Scheme is applicable for employees from 2004”, said Lt Gen Cherish Mathson who is an advisor to RAW.