There is no proposal to enhance the retirement age of doctors, the J&K government said on Sunday, a year after it said the proposal was under consideration.
"Presently there is no proposal (under consideration) for enhancement of retirement age of doctors up to 65 years," Minister of Health and Medical Education Department, Bali Bhagat, informed the Legislative Council in a written reply to a question by PDP MLC Khursheed Alam.
Alam had sought to know the "status" of state government's announcement in the Lower House last year that it was contemplating to increase the retirement age of doctors up to 65 years to "address the shortage of medicos."
The government's fresh stand on issue comes after the Minister of State for Health, Asiya Naqash, announced in the Legislative Assembly in June 2016 that the government is contemplating to increase the retirement age of doctors to 65 years.
"Yes, the Government is aware about shortage of doctors, but we are working out a proposal to increase the retirement age of doctors to 65 years," Naqash had told the Assembly.
However, experts had then opposed the move, stating it is neither beneficial to the health sector nor would it address the shortage of doctors in rural areas. The decision, they had argued, would also hit the career prospects of young and upcoming doctors in J&K.
To another question about the progress on establishment of five medical colleges in J&K, the Minister Bhagat has stated: "Regarding establishment of five new medical colleges identified by the Government of India, the construction work of three colleges (in Anantnag, Baramulla and Rajouri) is going on through executing agencies (JKPCC and R&B Jammu) and these works are under progress."
"Funds amounting to Rs 45.03 crore have been released by Government of India for these three colleges," the reply reads. "For new Medical College at Doda, the Government of India has been requested to convey its formal sanction and financial grants. This sanction is awaited."
"However with regard to new medical college at Kathua, the process of transfer of state land has been taken up with the State Revenue department and is being followed up," the reply reads.
Regarding establishment of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, land measuring 1907 Kanal and 05 Marla has been finalized at Awantipora in Pulwama district and of this, state land measuring 1309 Kanals and 02 Marlas stand transferred in favour of the Health and Medical Education Department, it states.
"Similarly, 1951 Kanal and O3 Marla land has been finalized at Vijaypur in Samba district in Jammu division for the AIIMS. Rs 8 crore has been released to Collector, Land Acquisition Samba for acquisition of private land (176 K and 19 M) and the necessary acquisition proceedings like issuance of notifications stand already initiated," the Minister said his reply.