In an unprecedented move, the Haryana health department has decided to take strict action against more than 25 doctors for neither serving the mandatory period of government service nor returning the money that the government spent on their post-graduation degrees.
It was for the first time in the department that action had been initiated to recover money ranging from `5 lakh to `10 lakh spent on the master's degree of the doctors, senior officials told Hindustan Times.
As per rules, doctors who complete their post-graduation degree on the government expense have to serve in the health department for at least seven years and, in case, they leave the service before the mandatory period, they have to return the money to the government.
Some of the 25 doctors had resigned from the government job but their resignations were not accepted as they had not returned the money. A few doctors simply went "absent", officials said. In both cases, the department chargesheeted them to complete the course of law, sent them notices and sought money spent on their studies, officials said, adding that legal procedure of "civil recovery" was now being initiated against the defaulters.
They said action was mandatory since the health department was plagued with the shortage of doctors as there was hardly any response to their repeated recruitment drives. Of nearly 2,500-doctor cadre, more than 300 posts are lying vacant, mostly on the account of reserved posts not being filled as there is hardly any eligible candidate. Besides, vacancies are because several doctors have gone on deputation or taken leave to complete their post-graduation courses.