UT plans to cut deputation of SMOs from Punjab, Haryana by 10% - Hindustan Times
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UT plans to cut deputation of SMOs from Punjab, Haryana by 10%

By, Chandigarh
Apr 07, 2024 05:09 AM IST

The UT health department recently drafted the recruitment rules for Group ‘A’ posts of principal medical officer, joint principal medical officer (medical superintendent), senior medical officer/district family welfare officer, medical officer, dental surgeon, planning officer and nursing superintendent

The UT administration has proposed to slash the number of senior medical officers on deputation from Punjab and Haryana by 10%.

With only nine doctors in the UT cadre out of 164 medical officers, the majority are on deputation. These UT Cadre doctors hold MBBS degrees without specialisation. (Stock photo)
With only nine doctors in the UT cadre out of 164 medical officers, the majority are on deputation. These UT Cadre doctors hold MBBS degrees without specialisation. (Stock photo)

Instead, they will hire more new doctors directly, raising that number to 20%. This shift aims to bring more local doctors into the city’s healthcare system.

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The UT health department recently drafted the recruitment rules for Group ‘A’ posts of principal medical officer, joint principal medical officer (medical superintendent), senior medical officer/district family welfare officer, medical officer, dental surgeon, planning officer and nursing superintendent.

What has the UT proposed

According to the draft recruitment rules, the new plan is to fill 50% of SMO positions by promoting existing employees. If there aren’t enough eligible employees, 30% of positions will be filled by bringing in doctors from other states/UTs on deputation. The remaining 20% positions will be filled by hiring new people directly.

Previously, 50% of positions were filled by promoting existing doctors. If there weren’t enough eligible employees, those positions would be filled by bringing in doctors from Punjab and Haryana on deputation and if not, then from other states/UTs. Another 40% of positions were filled by deputation only. Remaining 10% were filled by hiring new people directly. There are 28 SMO posts in UT.

Similarly, the UT hired 40% medical officers through direct recruitment and 60% through deputation from the states of Punjab and Haryana (60:40 ratio respectively). Now, they’re flipping the script. 60% of the new hires will come directly, and if they can’t find enough, they’ll look for them through deputation. Of the remaining 40%, they’ll prioritise Punjab and Haryana first for deputation, and if needed, they’ll consider other states or government sectors.

With only nine doctors in the UT cadre out of 164 medical officers, the majority are on deputation. These UT Cadre doctors hold MBBS degrees without specialisation.

The doctors from Punjab and Haryana, working in Chandigarh, have been asking for the term “deputation” to be replaced with “ex-cadre posting” because they don’t receive any deputation allowance as they are working in their capital city.

Under the previous rules, doctors from other states who were promoted to SMO positions in UT Chandigarh maintained their seniority in their home states. If there were no local candidates available for SMO positions, vacancies were filled by doctors on deputation from other states. However, due to lack of regular recruitment, there were no candidates eligible for promotion to SMO. Vacant SMO positions were, thus, filled by doctors on deputation, adjusting the 60:40 ratio as needed.

Fixed terms proposed

Under the new rules, the tenure for SMO posts will be capped at three years and that for medical officers five years. The latter will not be promoted to SMO positions in Chandigarh, necessitating their return to their home states.

Also, in the past, the joint principal medical officer post in Chandigarh was reserved for officers from the Haryana cadre, typically at the rank of civil surgeon. A panel was sent and after interviews, and with the approval of advisers, the position would be awarded.

However, the new rules introduce the term “outsiders” for doctors on deputation. Additionally, local-cadre SMOs will now have the opportunity to become joint PMO and eventually medical superintendent after serving as SMO for two years and a total of 10 years of service.

Similarly, the principal medical officer post that was fixed for Punjab will also be opened. Joint principal medical officer (medical superintendent) with two years regular service will also be considered along with outsiders (deputationists).

The UT administration had in February also finalised its deputation policy, setting a maximum tenure of seven years for employees deputed in Chandigarh. Once implemented, the policy will mainly impact Group A, B, and C employees from neighbouring Punjab and Haryana, many of whom are employed in Chandigarh, particularly in the education, health, and engineering sectors.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had recently condemned the BJP-led central government’s decision to weaken Punjab’s hold on Chandigarh by abolishing the 60:40 ratio vis-a-vis recruitment of SMOs in the UT health department.

UT has invited objections to the draft recruitment rules through the appropriate channels. These can be submitted 30 days from the date of their publication on the administration’s website. Any objections received after this period will not be taken into consideration, stated the document of the draft recruitment rules.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Robert Abraham is a staff correspondent with the Hindustan Times in Chandigarh. He keeps readers updated on the latest developments in the world of health.

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