Following the decision of the Nagaland In-Service Doctors’ Association (NIDA) to intensify its agitation due to the “Nagaland government’s inaction” with regard to the former’s demand for enhancement of age superannuation, the state government clarified on Wednesday that that the matter was considered by the Cabinet in its meeting held on 14.01.2021 wherein it was decided to discuss the matter with NSF by Cabinet Sub-Committee in the first instance. “The Cabinet Sub-Committee has had discussions with NSF and other stakeholders since then, and the matter is under active consideration of the Government at the Cabinet level,” an official statement said.
Local media reports said that “NIDA had written to the state government for raising the superannuation age for medical doctors from the existing 60 years to 65 years for those in the clinical and 62 years in the administrative sector”.
The state government official statement then said, “The fact that the 2020-21 financial year, on account of the prevailing COVID pandemic, had forced the Government to take stringent measures to check its expenditures, including by way of banning of fresh appointments is also pertinent”.
According to the official statement, detailed facts were placed before the office bearers of NIDA and the need to allow the consultative process to be completed for a robust decision was highlighted in the various meetings that the Chief Minister, the Minister for Health & Family Welfare, the Chief Secretary of Nagaland and the Principal Secretary of Health & Family Welfare have had with the NIDA officials. “However, it is noted with regret that NIDA has not taken cognizance of the counsel given and the genuine appeal to withdraw the symbolic protest,” the statement added.
The official statement then pointed out that the Government had taken a number of steps towards improving the service conditions of doctors including creation of 1 post of Director (Dental) in 2019 and in 2020 created 134 posts of various categories of doctors (Director (ME&RS:1; ZLO: 5, DVBO: 8; Specialist: 68; MO: 44; Dental Surgeon: 3 & AYUSH MO: 11), encadrement of 2 posts of DVBO in 2020, restructuring eligibility criteria for promotion to enable senior officers to qualify for promotion by reducing the tenure requirements in the higher grade, approving setting up of two Medical Colleges, and development of health infrastructure in the State.
It then said that the Government is committed to improve the health infrastructure and better service conditions for government medical professionals with the objective of improved public health delivery. “However, the Government has to examine the matter in all its dimensions through the consultative process, keeping in view the legal and administrative complexities on account of the specific conditions of the state,” it added.
The state government then urged that NIDA, “knowing fully that the matter is under active consideration and to be taken up by the Cabinet and other facts as highlighted above, should have refrained from making such public statements and should withdraw their protest, which does not in any way help in resolving the matter under consideration”.