Health department flouted rules for jobs on compensatory grounds

Information sought under RTI Act exposes the blatant violations

The authorities in the Health and Family Welfare department have been blatantly flouting the rules since over a decade — in appointments under compensatory grounds and deputation of field staff to office work on health grounds, who later get cadre change and additional benefits — under the impression that their deeds would not be noticed.

In a classic example, which has come to light due to an application under Right to Information Act, a person has been appointed as a literate assistant on January 28, 2005, in violation of rules. The violations seem to have been done as a favour because she is a widow of a doctor, even though she was just ninth pass, according to the documents presented by her.

M G N Shankar, who runs a security agency, a resident of Tavaragere, in Mandya, has been digging the irregularities in the Health department since almost a decade and he had applied for the information under RTI Act.

According to the documents provided by the department, C Nagarathna, widow of Dr L Rajugowda, was 9th standard pass and she was appointed as a literate assistant with a higher pay scale, while one Vasantha Kumari, a SSLC fail candidate, was appointed as a Group D employee with a lower pay scale, around the same time in the same Mandya district. While the initial basic pay scale for Vasantha Kumari was Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,850, that of Nagarathna was Rs 2,600 to Rs 4,350.

Following a time bound revision, Nagarathna’s pay scale is Rs 11,000 to 19,000 (letter dated May 8, 2015) at present.

In a letter dated August 8, 2015, the Public Relations Officer and Assistant Administrative Officer of the office of the Director for Health department, literate assistant and Group D posts are equivalent and carry equal pay scale.

Direct appointment

The letter also states that there is provision to directly appoint one to the post of literate assistant.

However, in an earlier letter, dated March 5, 2015, the same office had stated that only three posts — FDA, SDA and Group D — are offered on compensatory grounds. According to sources in the Health department, literate assistant is actually a promotion post for Group D employees and not an entry-level post.

In a letter from the DHO’s office, it has been stated that 17 persons, whose qualification is less than SSLC, have been appointed as Group D employees, while only one person has been appointed as literate assistant, in Mandya district.

Though Nagarathna was appointed to Victoria Hospital, in Bengaluru, a revised appointment letter was issued within 17 days (on Feb 15, 2005), a surprise speed for any government office, deputing her to the DHO’s office in her home district Mandya, where she is still working on ‘deputation’.

In fact, two papers produced by Nagarathna from Malavalli Government Girls High School (Old) contradict each other. While the school has issued a handwritten marks card of ninth standard, the list of the students who have been admitted to the school in the same academic year (1981-82) does not have Nagarathna’s name.

Neither DHO Dr Manchegowda nor Health Minister U T Khader were available for comment.

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