SRO 202 puts newly selected doctors in dilemma

The application of SRO 202 to the newly selected medical officers has put them in a quandary.
SRO 202 puts newly selected doctors in dilemma
Representational Pic

The application of SRO 202 to the newly selected medical officers has put them in a quandary.

As per the SRO, applied for the first time to the gazetted posts, the doctors after their appointment shall remain on probation for a period of five years and would be considered "permanent" only after meeting certain criteria set by government.

To ease the shortage of doctors in the rural and far flung areas immediately, the government had recently introduced a number of rules to ensure "fast, vast and sure" recruitment.

One of the "changes" introduced was that 1000 posts of medical officers advertised by the government were brought under SRO 202.

The decision to bring these posts under SRO 202 was made public in the job advertisement issued in October. SRO 202, issued in June 2015 applies to "all non-gazetted posts borne on the establishment of any department or service of the government and such gazetted post, as may be notified by the government from time to time".

The JKPSC selected 958 medical officers through the "revamped" selection process. 

While the selected doctors and other aspirants in the wait list argue that government was set to "punish" those doctors who chose to work in rural areas, health department has defended the decision as a mechanism to ensure that the selected doctors are available to work in far flung areas.

An official in the health department, wishing not to be named, said it was for the first time that posts of medical officers were brought under the ambit of SRO 202.

The decision is being resented by the selected candidates who feel that it will act as a "de-motivation" for working in difficult areas.

A selected candidate said that although, those who had applied for the posts were ready to serve in the rural and far flung areas, the government needed to make these postings "more lucrative".

"Instead of adding incentives to rural service, the government will punish the doctors with less pay, less allowances and very difficult work conditions," he said.

However, a senior official in the health and medical education department said the decision to bring the medical officers' posts under the SRO was to make sure that the doctors do not leave their places of posting midway.

The SRO prohibits transfer of appointees during the period of probation. "Most people appointed in rural areas manage to get a transfer order," the official said.

He added that the SRO was a "guarantee" that rural masses "will not be left in lurch" by the doctors.

In terms of pay, the SRO does not allow dearness allowances, increments and other emoluments during the period of probation. During the probation period, the selectees are paid fixed "minimum of scale pay" applicable to the post.

"On one hand we are being asked to leave our post graduation and other training. On the other hand, government is handing us a raw deal in the form of this SRO," said another aspirant.

In order to encourage the doctors to work in rural and far flung areas, according to existing rules, candidates can avail 10, 20 and 30 incentive marks in post graduate National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) for one, two and three years of service respectively. However, an official in health department said the provision had not proved to be very productive as most doctors would work in rural areas "close to city and towns" and still get the incentives.

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