The government has bowed to pressure from women groups and deleted controversial queries on women-specific health issues from the new performance appraisal report form.
Several women officers had demanded that the government remove intimate queries on their menstrual history, last menstrual cycle and timing of the last maternity leave.
CPM Member of Parliament Brinda Karat, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week in this context, had returned with Singh’s assurance that the objectionable questions would be removed.
"The government reconsidered the whole issue and took a decision…these queries have been deleted,” Satyananda Mishra, secretary, department of personnel and training told Hindustan Times. The amendment to the All India Services (Performance Appraisal Report) Rules was notified in the official gazette on Tuesday. Government officials, however, insisted that the queries were not seen in “proper light”. The medical check-up pro forma was drafted with the objective of standardising the check-up. “It was not that the medical details of the officer would have been bandied around in the government,” he said.
"Only a three-point summary of the medical record of the officer, classifying the officer’s overall health profile and any remarks that the doctor considers need to be brought to the attention of the government were to be part of the appraisal report,” the official said.
The order for removing the women-specific queries were taken after the health ministry felt that gender-neutral questions would be sufficient to ascertain medical fitness of officers.
"It was felt that if something comes up in the course of the medical check-up, it would be an issue between the officer and the doctor,” the official said.