It's raining bonanzas in poll-bound Bihar. The state cabinet on Thursday gave its nod to increase the doctors' age of superannuation from 65 to 67 years.
The order becomes effective from the date of notification, which is likely to be issued on Friday.
In another major decision, which could impact the upcoming assembly polls, the cabinet approved the grant of pay scale to fixed-pay trained and untrained contract teachers, along with librarians, with effect from July 1, 2015.
The whole exercise would entail an additional financial burden of Rs 2,948 crore on the state exchequer.
The decision on pay-scale will benefit over four lakh primary, secondary and higher secondary teachers and over 1,000 librarians appointed in phases on fixed-pay since 2006 to improve the adverse teacher: pupil ratio in Bihar.
"All contract teachers, including trained primary, secondary and higher secondary teachers, besides librarians, appointed by panchayati raj institutions will be entitled to the pay scale of Rs 5200-20200 from July 1, 2015," said Shishir Sinha, principal secretary, cabinet co-ordination department.
The government’s order to raise retirement age of doctors is likely to benefit around 5200 doctors, working under the health sector. Besides general doctors under the Bihar health services, it would cover those under medical education as well as those categorised under Ayush, including ayurveda, Unani and homoeopathy.
The government decided to raise the superannuation age in order to tide over the scarcity of doctors in state health facilities.
Contrary to the Centre's regulation, the doctors, who cross the age of 65 years, would be entitled to full administrative powers and hold positions as heads of department, principal, superintendent, etc.
Confirming this, Sinha said, "It will be like any other service extension and the doctors will be entitled to full administrative powers, which comes with their post."
Asked for the effective date of the order, Sinha said, "It is from the date of notification. We will send the file to the departments concerned today and the finance department has to issue the notification. I believe it will be issued tomorrow and those retiring on August 1 will benefit."
The Bihar State Health Service Association (BSHSA), which had been rallying behind its demand since last December, however, seemed to have lost some interest in it after the government dithered on the decision beyond June 30.
General secretary of the Bihar Superannuated Doctors Association (BSDA) Dr Ajay Kumar, who till recently was the president of the BSHSA, even alleged that the six-month delay in arriving at a formal decision had led to the superannuation of at least 200 doctors. He said, "The very purpose of the decision was defeated after 200 doctors superannuated due to the delay."