THE ONGOING Maratha reservation case in the Bombay High Court (HC) has hit appointment of 5,778 officials in the public health department, which has 10,568 vacancies across rural and district hospitals.
Following a HC order in December that directed the Maharashtra government to halt all appointments in connection to reservation for the Socially and Educationally Backward Caste (SEBC) until court’s final verdict, the health department, which has the second largest vacancies across all departments, has been left in the lurch.
The department wants to appoint 700 doctors and 5,778 nurses, technicians and pharmacists.
The HC is hearing a petition challenging the state government’s notification of November 30, implementing 16 per cent reservation for the Maratha community.
With petitioners objecting to advertisements issued by the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) inviting applications or jobs from the community, even as the case is underway, the court had directed the state general administration department (GAD) to direct all departments to halt appointments connected to the reservation.
The state government is in the middle of a mega recruitment drive to fill 72,000 vacancies. According to the government, there are 11,000 vacancies in the rural department, followed by the health and public works departments. The government planned to fill 36,000 vacancies in the first phase, under which 5,778 employees in health department were to be appointed.
“The online process of application has started. Exams will be held in July. But we are tied when it comes to appointing the selected candidates,” said Anup Kumar Yadav, Director of National Health Mission, who is holding the director’s charge at Directorate of Health Services. The appointments will not be made until the final court order comes.
An official said that the maximum impact of vacancies not being filled is being felt in rural and tribal areas where there is a dearth of doctors and paramedical staff. Remote regions in Nandurbar, Yavatmal, Gadchiroli and Amravati have the maximum number of vacancies.
Meanwhile, to expand the health and wellness centres under the umbrella scheme Ayushman Bharat, the state is planning to appoint 5,200 doctors in the new centres. “The previous appointments of 1,144 doctors was made without Maratha reservation, but from now on, we will have to reserve 16 per cent posts for them,” said Dr Vijay Kandelwad, in charge of the state health and wellness centres.
Senior health officials fear that with SEBC and Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) reservation, the quota limit has touched 68 per cent. “Once the appointments start, candidates under open category will protest,” an official said.
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