Monday, November 28, 2022

Nagaland: NMSA opposes Nov 2 notification of H&FW dept

Nagaland Medical Students’ Association (NMSA) has expressed shock and dismay over the November 2, 2022 notification of the Health & Family Welfare (H&FW) Department regarding special recruitment drive for the forthcoming Nagaland Public Service Commission (NPSC) written and viva exams for the posts of 96 medical officers (MOs), 41 junior specialists, 21 Ayush doctors and five dental surgeons.
NMSA president Hungruilak and secretary Beka Achumi in a press release said the medical students’ fraternity was highly perturbed by the policy changes in alignment with the regularised medical officer recruitment process.
They said they were shocked and dismayed over the unjust criteria set by the H&FW department for the special recruitment drive – giving special preferences and incentives for the officer/staff serving on contract/engagement basis under NHM, NSACS, NHAK and the State who had served the healthcare system during the pandemic, with special relaxation of upper age limit up to 45 years against 35 years set for NPSC, with allocation of 25% (i.e. 125 marks) for Covid MO +10% (i.e. 50 marks) for work experience.
While the association had always vouched for an equal, free and fair opportunity for every medical graduate in the recruitment of regular government medical officers through NPSC written and viva exams, they asserted that NMSA did not in any way see an equal and a just system in the recruitment drive as per the notification.
At a time when the world had become very competitive and with unemployed educated youth vying for every opportunity and whose fate were decided often by a single mark, they said they were surprised to see how the State government would allocate 25% marks for COVID MOs and 10% for work experience – a total of 175 marks out of 487.5 marks for all Covid MOs and contractual MOs – to favour some group of people and deprive other students the very opportunity they have had been competing for.
They questioned on what basis NPSC exam would be competitive when those candidates (Covid MOs) got 125 marks, plus additional 50 marks for work experience even before appearing exam.
When Manipur awarded 10 additional marks (5% of total written marks) to Covid MOs while the matter was still under scrutiny of court, they appealed to the State government to follow the same policy in Nagaland as even 1 mark could decide a candidate’s career.
The NMSA leaders asked what would be the future of medical graduates? When the number of MOs recruited through NPSC exams approximately stood at 91 in 11 years from a period of 2011-2021, if the government goes to accommodate all 142 seats of medical officer “to those who have completed 100 days of COVID duty and other contract MOs through biased means”. NMSA said the medical graduates and students will not get to sit for NPSC exam for at least 10-15 years, adding that “this special recruitment drive not only discourages the students but jeopardizes the junior doctors to go for further studies and kills the competitive spirit which in the long run.” It would highly compromise the already deplorable and pitiable condition of our state health care system, NMSA stated.
While acknowledging the work of MOs and Covid contract recruited MOs in tackling the pandemic, they asserted that the special recruitment drive in no way justified the deprivation of medical graduates and students of their opportunity.
They urged the authority concerned to have an inclusive approach by considering the hopes and aspirations of the young students and graduates waiting for an opportunity to qualify by merit through NPSC exams.
They also called for immediate review of the decision and issue fresh order in accordance with NPSC rules to give equal, free and fair opportunity to all budding doctors.
They denounced outright the alleged blatant partisanship prevailing in the medical system and appealed for support to all right-thinking citizens, public organisation and NGOs for preventing dilution of healthcare system in the State by giving a fair and unbiased opportunity to all aspirants via a fair recruitment process through advertised NPSC exams.

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