Patna, Dec. 3: In a move to check the dwindling number of doctors in the state health service cadre, the state government today decided to enhance the superannuation age of medics from the current 62 years to 65 years.
Altogether five decisions were taken during a marathon cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Nitish Kumar at his designated office 4, Deshratna Marg.
The decision to enhance the superannuation age would benefit around 2,500 doctors of Bihar health service cadre (allopathy) and about another 800 doctors belonging to ayurvedic, homoeopathy and unani.
State health minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey said the decision will come into effect from the date of its announcement — December 3.
It may be noted that the chief minister, while releasing his government’s sixth annual report card on November 25, had announced that the retirement age of university and college teachers and doctors would be enhanced to 65 years. The cabinet on Thursday last increased the retirement age of university teachers. Today, it gave its assent to three-year service extension to government doctors.
Bihar Health Service Association general Ajay Kumar welcomed the government’s decision. “The decision would help the government in tiding over the shortage of doctors in the state. A number of doctors retire every month and the posts are not filled accordingly,” he said.
There are 8,281 sanctioned posts of doctors in the state against which around 2,500 doctors are working at present, Kumar said.
He added that the government needs to make more attractive offers so that more doctors come forward to join government health service.
In yet another important decision, the cabinet approved a holiday on April 30 on account of Janki Navmi, the birthday of Sita, on the lines of Ram Navmi.
“Our effort has finally paid off. The cabinet has put a seal of approval on the proposal to announce holiday on the birthday of Sita. The holiday has been declared on the lines of Ram Navmi,” tourism minister Sunil Kumar Pintu told The Telegraph. Pintu represents Sitamarhi town Assembly constituency that encompasses the birthplace of Sita.
The cabinet also enhanced the corpus of contingency fund up to Rs 1,150 crore. Out of this, Rs 800 crore would be spent on paddy procurement, official sources said, adding that funds would be made available to cooperative banks to enable the procurement through various cooperative societies, including Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society.
It has been decided that the money would be utilised effectively and efficiently to carry out procurement, sources said, adding that farmers would be paid the amount the same day the procurement would be done.
Contingency fund for the state is generally is Rs 350 crore. This year, another Rs 650 crore were added to the fund for flood relief purpose.
In yet another significant decision, the state government decided to rechristen human resources development department (HRD) as “education department”.
It may be noted that the chief minister on January 25 this year, while releasing the annual status of education report 2010, had suggested that the department be better called education department as it was easier to understand and communicate to the people.
“It would be better if we start calling education department again instead of HRD. I do not know how and when it was christened as HRD. When did human beings become resource and ignored the human aspect,” Kumar had said.
It may be noted that since the time of Independence, the ministry was called education ministry at the Centre and education department at the state level.
In 1985, a new ministry was created under a suggestive name of ministry of human resource development through the 174th amendment to the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961.
Presently, the ministry has two departments — department of school education and literacy and department of higher education.
The state cabinet also gave its nod to the Bihar Municipal Amendment Bill which would enable the setting up of property tax board, besides make it legally binding to deposit property tax by June 30 every year.
Retirement age of doctors enhanced from 62 to 65 years
State holiday on April 30, Janki Navmi, on lines of Ram Navmi
Contingency fund, which generally is Rs 350 crore, enhanced to Rs 1,150 crore
Human resource development department re-christened as education department
Amendment to Bihar Municipal Act to enable setting up of property tax board