BHUBANESWAR: Ayush doctors in Odisha are not only battling COVID-19 but also the indifferent attitude of the State government in terms of their salary and job security. The doctors, who are on contract, are getting less than half the salary of regular doctors and one-third of those who were recruited on a short-term basis for management of COVID-19.
The State has a total 4,095 posts of AYUSH doctors in four categories, including 1,270 regular ones appointed as Class II employees. The most neglected are the contractual doctors of both Ayurveda and Homeopathy disciplines recruited under National Health Mission (NHM) and Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) schemes.
While 1,485 are under the NHM scheme, 1,272 have been recruited under the RBSK scheme. Besides, 68 AYUSH doctors posted as in-charge of mobile health units (MHUs) in KBK region of the State have also been bearing the brunt of apathetic attitude of the government.
Although the General Administration and Public Grievances department has already asked all departments to regularise contractual employees and the AYUSH doctors recruited under the NHM scheme since 2008 and those in charge of MHUs, there has been no development in this regard.
The doctors have been appointed in the PHCs and CHCs along with the MBBS doctors for over 12 years and engaged in management of COVID-19 for more than a year now. But they get only Rs 27,000 whereas doctors temporarily engaged for COVID-19 are paid Rs 66,000 each.
They said before the General Election 2019, the government had assured for regularisation of AYUSH doctors and paramedics co-located in CHCs/PHCs. Though all paramedics were regularised, the doctors are still struggling to get the nod.
The doctors recruited under the RBSK scheme in 2013 also face huge pay disparity. They get Rs 23,000 per month.
The regular doctors alleged that despite repeated demands the government is yet to restructure their cadre on a par with the MBBS doctors. They are treated as Class II employees even as such doctors in other states are treated as Class I employees.
Director of AYUSH Trilochan Majhi said as per the direction of the State government the list of doctors was sought from the office of NHM as part of the process for regularisation of their job. “The list has reached recently. Their recruitment process and service conditions are being checked. The job regularisation is under active consideration,” he added.