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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Media Coverage of TNPSC vs Contract

From Indian Express

Chennai Edition

Contract vs TNPSC docs? War of attrition hits govt homepage
Tuesday June 20 2006 00:14 IST

CHENNAI: Dr X (Direct recruitee): ...We have been in Nilgris for the past nine months and the contract idiots will remain in their native districts. How come they are superior to those already in service?

Dr Y (contract medical consultant): Dey loosu (mad) Dr X, go and ask for transfer counselling. Don’t pour your anger here, if you’d scored high, you might have joined in 2003...Stop your nonsense.

Dr X: You are an absolute want regular permanent post thru’ back door.

This war of attrition is now being fought in the bulletin board of the state Health Department’s homepage - The government’s announcement that it will absorb all contract medical consultants (CMCs) the preceding AIADMK-led government had appointed has set the cat among the pigeons.

Assistant surgeons recruited directly through the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) are unsure about their future and are wending their ire through website. Topping their confusion, the counselling, which was to start on June 20, has been postponed.

Since June 12 - when the Madras High Court upheld the rejection of over 1,800 applications for the post of Assistant Surgeons by the TNPSC and thereby clearing the way for appointment of the recruitees - it has been rumours galore. Contract workers had sought and got an assurance from the Health Ministry that their services would be regularised. For, there is a total of 3,000 vacancies in the Directorate of Public Health (DPH), Directorate of Medical Services and Directorate of Medical Education.

For example, in Tiruvannamalai health unit district (HUD) of the DPH, nearly 59 of the 95 posts are vacant and in Cheyyar HUD 39 of the 77 posts are to be filled. Says a CMC based in a western district: “Over the last year, every CMC has been made responsible for at least three PHCs. We have acquitted ourselves very well. I think, that’s why the government has decided to absorb us.”

According to him around 1,295 vacancies are in the DPH alone and the Tamil Nadu Medical Service is right now at 50 percent of sanctioned strength.

In 2005, the previous government had announced that around 2,300 posts would be filled on contract basis. However, sources pointed out that only 1,000 were posted, as Assembly elections had been announced before the process could be completed.

Through TNPSC 2003 examination, 1,800 assistant surgeons, including 300 CMCs, have been selected. That means only another 700 have to be accommodated while the vacancy after appointing the direct recruitees will still be another 1,200. “So, why worry?” wonders another CMC.

Health Ministry sources are also quick to blame the online unrest on rumour mongers. “The delay in counselling is only because of some formalities in file clearance. Absolutely administrative. All selected Assistant Surgeons will be counselled starting June 22. Though we have taken a policy decision to absorb all CMCs, the modalities have to be worked out,” says a top official in the Ministry.

But the TNPSC recruitees have not had their last word yet. They are baying for the blood of CMCs. “The system seems to favour the contract doctors.

Those who do not go through the exam process will get the plum postings in medical colleges and PHCs on main road, while the rest have to serve in distant villages,” says a young doctor.

The million-dollar question? Will the warring factions learn to co-exist when the two have to work shoulder-to-shoulder?

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