Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Nagaland: H&FW clarifies to agitating nurses

Drawing attention to the ongoing strike by Department Recruited Aggrieved Nurse (DRAN) 2021, department of Health & Family Welfare (H&FW), Nagaland has issued clarifications to cases pertaining to the nature of their service engagement in chronological order.
According to H&FW, 143 posts of staff nurse were created after the Cabinet nod on June 12, 2020 while another 78 were created on June 25,2020. DoH&FW said the condition was that these appointments would be purely temporary and later regular recruitment would be conducted through special NPSC drive (Clause B).
Again, as per recommendation of Manpower Rationalisation Committee (MRC), the department should fill up 50% of the posts of staff nurse from queue of former Nursing Diploma/Graduates and the remainder of 50% filled up through direct recruitment and open competition.
Based on cabinet memo of June 25,2020 the department issued a notification on July 5,2020 framing guidelines for recruitment and service condition of medical officers, nurses, technicians and other para-medical staff.
As per Clause 2 of the notification, the appointments will be temporary/fixed and regular recruitment would be done only through NPSC.
As per Clause 5, as per recommendation of MRC, 50% of posts of staff nurse will be filled through queue system and 50% through open recruitment and competition.
Consequently, advertisement were issued on July 16,2020 for recruitment of 110 posts of staff nurse. In the advertisement, it was erroneously stated that appointment will be on “regular basis” and a corrigendum issued on July 17,2020 stating it will be on ‘temporary appointment’.
An addendum was issued on November after which 19 posts were added to take the total number of staff nurse for open recruitment to 129(110+19=129).
However, H&FW said the Unemployed Trained Nurses Association (UNTA) were dissatisfied with the cabinet decision and subsequent department notification dated July 5,2020 to fill up staff nurse on 50/50 ratio by filing a writ petition before the Gauhati High Court, Kohima bench. On August 24,2020 the department said the court disposed of the case with an observation that there was nothing illegal in the impugned notification dated July 5,2020. Further, the department said the Court also mentioned that it was not inclined to interfere with the cabinet decision but however directed the state respondent to “relax the maximum age eligibility” to 45 for all trained nurses in Nagaland, as in the case with contractual employees.
After disposal of the case in the court, the department conducted an exercise for engagement to fill up 129 posts of staff nurse and issued an order on April 15,2021 mentioning the terms and conditions of employment.
According to DoH&FW the engagement shall be for a period of 12 months only or till regular appointment is made through NPSC or whichever is earlier. Also, appointees shall have no right to claim for regularization of the engagement of contingency basis on any ground whatsoever and that the engagement shall be liable to be terminated at any time without any notice and without assigning any reasons thereof.
H&FW said that after approval of the cabinet and consultation with NPSC and as per the directive and advise of P&AR department, a notification was issued on November 2,2022 for Special Recruitment Drive including staff nurse to be conducted by NPSC. Due weightage of marks was accorded for COVID-19 duty @25% and work experience @10%. The department said this weightage was as per the Centre’s advise to all states during covid pandemic.
H&FW also said it held several rounds of meetings with representatives of the aggrieved nurses where the state government reiterated the cabinet decision on terms and conditions for appointment as staff nurse and requested the aggrieved nurses to call off their strike.
However, the department said despite its appeals the aggrieved nurses have decided to go ahead with their complete cease work affecting even ICU and emergency services from November 16,2022. This has severely jeopardized the health services in government hospitals.
In the light of the situation, the government on November 16,2022 issued an order declaring the ongoing agitation as “illegal in terms of Section 3(1) of Nagaland Essential Services (Maintenance Act 1978).

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