Centre Mulls Raising Retirement Age Of Scientists From 60 to 65

The Ministry of Science and Technology has sent notes to 14 government-run autonomous bodies seeking details of scientists nearing retirement.

Outlook Money
October 17, 2023
Indian Government Considers To Increase Retirement Age Of Scientists

Indian Government Considers To Increase Retirement Age Of Scientists

The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) is considering a proposal to increase the retirement age of scientists working in government-run autonomous bodies from 60 to 65. The aim is to curb the departure of senior scientists to universities and premier institutes like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), where the retirement age is already 65.


Currently, most government-employed scientists retire at 60, with exceptions like those employed in the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), where the retirement age is 62.

The note sent by the ministry on October 6 to 14 autonomous bodies funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) shows that plans are afoot to enhance the scientists’ retirement age. Meanwhile, MoST has requested the institute heads to give details on the total sanctioned scientists’ positions in autonomous bodies, the number of scientists expected to retire from November 2023 to March 2028, and the “additional financial implications of the enhanced retirement age”.

However, MoST Secretary Abhay Karandikar, who took charge of the office on October 3, stated that he was unaware of any such proposal. The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and DST come under the ministry.

The Hindu, citing sources, reported this week that the proposal may have come from DBT. It comes amid concerns that senior scientists nearing retirement were leaving research institutes for academic careers. DBT has reportedly sent details of scientists for evaluation. Scientists working in institutions under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) may also come under the ambit of the proposal. The idea of increasing the retirement age of scientists has been introduced previously. In 2015, MoST put forth a draft cabinet note suggesting that this move would help standardise the service conditions for research scientists in various government sectors.

Traditionally, ministries have granted “extensions” to scientists nearing retirement by two to five years. However, the Modi government phased out this practice in favour of short-term contracts to retain valuable senior employees. Interestingly, the 2015 proposal, despite receiving attention at the highest government levels, may have been set aside.

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