Pay panel proposals: Field-level health staff complain of raw deal

‘Most of the other State governments have given incentives for health workers’

Field-level staff in the Health Department have complained of a raw deal in the proposals for salary hike for government staff recently submitted to the State government by the 11th Pay Commission.

Some of the functionaries of the department staff unions claimed that the qualification for Junior Health Inspector (JHI) and Junior Public Health Nurse (JPHN) had been a two-year diploma and a pass in Plus Two (Science). They pointed out that the staff with similar qualification and similar pay scale had been given more salary in the pay panel proposals.

According to them, the basic pay for JHI Grade 2, JPHN Grade 2, Pharmacist Grade 2, and Lab Technician Grade 2 was ₹22,200 earlier. It was revised to ₹35,500 for all except JHIs by the pay panel now. For JHIs and JPHN Grade 2, it is ₹31,100.

K. Remjith, Kerala State Health Inspectors’ Federation, told The Hindu on Monday that the field level staff were in the forefront of all major public health emergencies reported from the State, including the floods in 2018 and 2019 and the ongoing fight against COVID-19. “Most of the other State governments had given incentives for health workers in recent times. Here, however, our salaries had been cut in the wake of floods and the pandemic. We expected a proportional pay rise this time like what was implemented in Karnataka. Our hopes, however, were dashed,” he pointed put.

Mr. Remjith said that people like pharmacists and lab technicians had to work only in shifts when the pandemic broke out while the health inspectors and public health nurses were the only group active on the field round the clock. The staff unions are planning to submit a memorandum to the Health Minister.

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