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Law on medical staff transfers

Guwahati, June 1: Assam is planning a legislation to make it mandatory for medical teaching staff to work for a “certain minimum period” in each of the three colleges in Guwahati, Dibrugarh and Silchar.

Health and family welfare minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the idea was to streamline the functioning of medical colleges as part of a larger campaign to enhance the efficiency of the healthcare sector. The government intends to initiate discussions with the medical fraternity soon to give shape to the legislation.

Elaborating what the government has in mind, Sarma said there could be “base colleges” for faculty members and other teaching staff on the lines of the cadre system in the administrative services. “But to be eligible for a promotion, teaching staff have to work for a minimum period outside his or her base college.”

The minister said this would help the government rationalise the transfer system, while ensuring there was no shortage of teaching staff in any of the colleges.

All three medical colleges in the state often fall short of the requirement of teaching staff because those transferred from other medical colleges refuse to leave their “parent institutions”.

“Once we introduce a legislation, medical teaching staff have to put in a minimum period of service in colleges other than their parent or base institution, as we will call it,” Sarma said.

The mandatory duration of service will be fixed after consulting doctors and other teaching staff.

“I do not want to be seen as imposing things on the medical fraternity. I will consult and take them into confidence while fixing a period for service outside the base college,” the minister said.

Sarma yesterday completed a stock-taking visit to all three medical colleges.

He indicated that the government would form a standing committee to take decisions on transfers and postings in the medical colleges. This is meant to do away with departmental intervention in transfers and postings.

At present, there is only a standing order and no fixed rule pertaining to transfers and postings, which enables medical teaching staff to spend their entire career in one college.

Sarma said his department would soon unveil a plan to streamline transfers and postings of government doctors, too. He declined to give a peek into the plan until he had discussed it with chief minister Tarun Gogoi.

The health and family welfare minister had held the planning and development portfolio in the previous government.

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