ICTC counsellors to go on strike

 Nearly 650 counsellors are expected to take part in the strike, led by Karnataka State HIV/AIDS Counsellors Association.

According to Association’s media secretary Faiz Ahmed, National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) had passed a resolution on June 30, this year, to increase the pay grids of ICTC counsellors from Rs 6,500 to Rs 14,000 depending on seniority. However, the counsellors had not received the revised salaries till date.

Ahmed said that NACO had organised a grade-based written exam for all counsellors in April, last year, along with three performance criteria. Pay scale fixed for those who scored ‘A’ grade was Rs 8,500, ‘B’ grade was Rs 7750, Rs 6550 for ‘C’ grade and ‘D’ grade was Rs 6,500. Now, the 650 counsellors, who took the exam, all got good grades.

"Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society (KSAPS) - NACO's State body - felt there was mass copying. So, the Bangalore division has not fixed the revised salary till now," said Ahmed. He added that they had also submitted a MoU to Health Minister B Sriramulu three months ago, who in turn sent a letter to KSAPS to implement  revised salary but there has been no response from KSAPS.

Some of the demands of the Association are that senior counsellors be promoted as ART counsellor or district supervisor, Bangalore division be given revised salary, removal of the KSAP assistant director from the post, as he is unqualified  etc. R R Jannu, Project Director, KSAPS, said, "The counsellors are on contract-basis and cannot go on strike. We will release the amount stated by NACO after valuing everyone's performance," he said. 

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