Srinagar, July 10: While urging the government to frame a policy for absorption of NHM/RNTCP/NACO employees in the Health and Medical Education department, CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami Friday demanded immediate pending regularization, they seek.
The government should also enhance/revise wages on an equal-work-equal-pay principle on the pattern of SRO 384/24 employees. Providing social security benefits like mediclaim, ex-gratia policy and EPF/NPS for all employees, maternity Benefit Act implementation and leave benefits are some of the other demands of these employees, which should be considered on priority.
There are more than 8000 employees (about 1400 doctors, 6000 paramedics and 600 managerial professionals) working for the last 13 years in Jammu and Kashmir under the National Health Mission (NHM) / RNTCP/ NACO on contract basis. It is unfortunate that the employees who have given the prime of their youth to the mission have been left most vulnerable and insecure. The lack of job security, meagre salary and lack of social security haunt them day in and day out.
Thirty-three (33) NHM employees have died in harness and their kin have been left to fend for themselves. Pertinently, the contract employees working under SRO-24 (formerly SRO 384) in J&K are also paid minimum of the scale wages which is much higher than NHM remuneration rates.
So far in March 2017, the Government of J&K had set up a committee comprising Directorate of Health Services Kashmir, Directorate of Health Services Jammu, and Mission Director NHM & Additional Secretary H&ME dept. to look into demands of the employees and frame a proposal for the same.
In January, 2018, the committee submitted a proposal to the H&ME department for phased regularisation of employees, around 1000 in the first phase. The then Health Minister had stated on the floor of the House that the proposal has been submitted to the Finance department for concurrence. However, the same continues to remain in limbo.
In January 2018, after these employees went on strike, the then Minister signed an agreement with the employees, pledging to meet their demands like enhancement of wages, accord of leave benefits, EPF/NPS to all, removal of pay disparity and constitution of a high-level group of officers to look into the issue to regularisation etc.
Subsequently, a group of officers was constituted vide No 174 GAD of 2018 dated 29.01.2018. The group of officers is yet to submit its report to the Government which it was supposed to do in two months.
The government must take steps for their regularization and pay them wages at par with their counterparts. Leave should be sanctioned in their favour.