Nearly 1,000 contractual employees from 15 states under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) of the Government of India gathered at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday to ask the government to meet their long pending demands.
The demands included regularisation of employees some of whom have been in service of RNTCP for 15 years, implementation of the provisions of the sixth pay commission and payment of government approved allowances. Initially the RNTCP staff was getting salary equivalent to a regular employee. But as the provisions of fifth and sixth pay commissions do not apply on RNTCP staff, their relative salaries have come down.
The regular government employees are paid Rs. 30000 per month with other allowances, while our members are get only Rs. 8000 a month without any allowances even though we perform the same duties,” said R M Thripathi, President, AITBCPEA. Employees say they are prone to getting TB infection and therefore their demands should be met.
The representatives of the All India T B Control Programme Employees Association (AITBCPEA) submitted memorandums to the President, the Prime minister and the Union Health Minister. “We met the R S Shukla, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. He assured us of some action but did not give anything in writing,” told Thripathi. Employees held demonstrations in March and August earlier this year too.
RNTCP has been in effect since 1997 and is being implemented as per the technical and financial guidelines, Government of India. The staff of 25,000 has been appointed at various levels on contractual basis. Some employees also alleged that they have not received salaries for the past five to six months. The protests among employees has gained momentum as the government has decided to start the RNTCP Phase III which will last till 2017. The government had in the past given assurance that the grievances of the employees would be addressed at the start of Phase III.