The National Health Mission (NHM), Chandigarh Administration, recently issued an advertisement for the post of Administrative Director, NHM, the interview of which is scheduled on September 23, at the office of the Principal Secretary, Health.
The post will be filled on contract basis for a period of one year, with a renewal on the basis of the approval of the post.
In a letter submitted to the Administrator UT, Babita Rawat, President, Chandigarh NHM Employees Union has expressed that all employees (Medical, Paramedical, Managerial) serving the NHM department since the last 15 years are against the creation of the post. The employees have been requesting the UT Administration for respectable wages, and every time the issue of discrepancies in salaries of NHM employees is brought up, higher authorities cite a budget crunch for non-allocation of extra funds to the employees.
Since its inception the NHM, Chandigarh has been working without the post of an administrative director, with Director Health and Family Welfare, Chandigarh, also working as Mission Director.
The letter further states that funds in lakhs can be saved by cancelling the creation of this post and the money can be used to raise the salaries of NHM staff.
In response to the advertisement, Dr Rakesh Gupta, former Director of Health Services, Government of Punjab, has submitted a letter to V P Singh Badnore, Governor Punjab and Administrator, UT Chandigarh, offering to serve the Health Department, UT Chandigarh, on an honourary basis in view of the controversy regarding the interview.
Dr Gupta, who retired in February 2020, completed his MBBS in 1982 from Government Medical College, Patiala, Punjab, and his M D (Ophthalmology) in 1989 from the same institute. A reputed eye surgeon, he has a professional experience of more than 35 years in the Punjab government as a PCMS Officer and more than 10 years of expertise in managing and actively contributing to the
National Non-Communicable Diseases Programmes, especially blindness control and tobacco control.
“I have been living in Chandigarh for the past 54 years. We shifted here when I was six and so there is a deep connection with the city and a great love for it. I was working as an eye surgeon till 2010 and then dedicated myself to administrative work. I think in this time of crisis, I want to contribute to the city and its well-being, and have therefore offered my services as Administrative Director NHM UT, on an honorary basis at a salary of Re 1 per month. With my varied experience of working in the field, we can improve the working of NHM/Health Department and the Rs 18 lakh saved per year can be used to provide better salaries to the contractual NHM staff. I have my pension and all I want to do now is give back to this city,” shared Dr Gupta, a resident of Sector 35.
Dr Gupta, who is working for a public health organization on an honorary basis, says that the need of the hour is to form an advisory committee comprising committed public health experts, who can advise the Administration on the current Covid-19 crisis, provide innovative ideas and solutions for testing, home quarantine, disease control, manpower management etc.
“We can take the help of retired doctors to monitor patients in home quarantine, who can also contribute and focus on other key areas of Covid-19 management and help the city in this time of need,” said the doctor.
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