The Haryana health department seems to be at the centre of trouble at present.
With no fresh recruitments and those already employed with the department also leaving in the name of poor pay packages and denial of "justified perks", the department is reeling under sever staff crunch.
Dr Kuldip Singh, president, Haryana Civil Medical Services Association, and Dr Ashish Rana, association general secretary, told Hindustan Times that the state department's doctors were being underpaid and were given less allowances as compared to their counterparts in state medical colleges, in neighbouring state Punjab and at the Centre.
"It is probably only in Haryana that doctors are considered as Class-II employees at the entry level. Elsewhere, they are given Class-I status," Dr Singh said.
He said it was because of the poor pay packages and status that there were hardly new takers for the job in the state health department.
Dr Rana said doctors who had to frequently attend to emergency cases at odd hours (after duty hours and on holidays) and had to travel for official and administrative purposes were being paid only Rs 150 a month as conveyance allowance since 1989.
He said there was neither any departmental transport facility available for them for such purposes nor any government accommodation was provided to them at their places of posting. But, adequate on-campus residential facilities were provided to doctors of medical colleges who also got Rs 1,650 conveyance and Rs 400 transport allowances per month, he alleged.
Likewise, the department doctors do not get any learning resource allowance despite the need to keep themselves updated with the medical science, which is rapidly advancing.
The Haryana government gave Rs 20,000 to doctors serving in medical colleges, Dr Singh said, adding that the department doctors did not even have the facility of departmental libraries.
Also, doctors working in the health department got no phone allowance and the ones who served in the rural areas were given Rs 500 per month in Haryana, whereas this allowance was 6% of the basic pay in Punjab, the doctors said, adding that they would soon take a representation to the government in the context.
A senior official of the department who did not wish to be named, however, held that all issues were being considered at different levels and the government had always been considering better pay, perks and status for doctors. "Positive results are likely soon," the official added.
Over 630 posts vacant since long
Out of the total sanctioned posts of 3,034 doctors in Haryana, only 2,403 are filled, while 631 have been lying vacant since long. This year, so far, the health department had advertised 490 posts for which only 152 medical officers had been selected and similar to the past trend, only 60% of them joined the department, Dr Singh said.
He said more than 150 doctors had been absent from duty without informing the authorities since long and their posts remained as filled on paper.