No promotion channel for rural doctors in Punjab | punjab$regional-takes | Hindustan Times
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No promotion channel for rural doctors in Punjab

Call it callous attitude or bureaucracy, Punjab hasn’t made a promotion channel for rural medical officers (RMO) in 10 years, so these doctors will retire on the post they joined.

punjab Updated: Aug 26, 2016 11:23 IST
Vishal Rambani

Call it callous attitude or bureaucracy, Punjab hasn’t made a promotion channel for rural medical officers (RMO) in 10 years, so these doctors will retire on the post they joined.

In 2006, the Punjab government created the RMO cadre to make up for the absenteeism of doctors in remote areas. The RMOs were to remain posted in villages, where most doctors of Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) avoid joining duty. For all their tough duty, the RMOs get neither promotion in job nor quota in postgraduate studies, while the easy-sitting PCMS doctors have both privileges.

In 2006, 1,186 rural dispensaries moved from the health department to the rural development department, since the former was struggling to serve subsidiary health centres. “We were hired in 2006 but our services regularised in 2011. We are entitled to dynamic assured career progression (DACP) at 4, 9, and 14 years of service. But five years since regularisation, the benefit hasn’t come to us. After a decade, I am still an RMO, and will probably retire as this. In the PCMS cadre, a doctor becomes senior medical officer after 9 years, civil surgeon after 20, and many retire as director. What is my fault? I have the same qualifications,” Rural Medical Services Association (RMSA) spokesperson Dr Rajesh Kumar said.

“For postgraduate seats under 60% quota, the RMOs get no advantage of rural posting, while the counterparts from the health department get this credit,” said Dr Sukhjinder Singh, another RMO. RMSA president Dr Aslam Parvez said: “Why wouldn’t we be angry. We have met the minister and the director concerned, and now have no other option but agitation.”

Being on a foreign visit, rural development minister Sikandar Singh Maluka could not be contacted. Rural development director GK Singh, however, said the process is on to give the RMOs the DACP benefit and a promotion channel. “We have moved the file to the finance department.”