Incentive is official bribe: Impact study necessary

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa administration is infected with a new virus called incentive. Without application of collective mind and impact study, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been injecting this virus into various organs of administration. The latest is reward to Doctors and paramedical staff.

Announcing cash awards of Rs.10 lakhs and Rs.5 lakhs per Doctor and paramedics respectively, a note from CMO says, “A committee comprising experts in health service, will identify the dedicated doctors and other persons to get cash award.”

Doctors are getting their handsome salaries to serve the patients and if many of them fail to render the expected service, responsible must be the anarchy in administration. Private practitioners have always been supported by their godfathers in the Secretariat in bagging lucrative posts in important nerve center hospitals, as would be seen in rampant contravention of the norm of transfer codified in the department of health. A good many numbers of eminent doctors have resigned in disgust and gone on volunteer retirement in protest against malpractice in matter of transfer and posting.

The Chief Minister has not yet caused a public-participated study to ascertain what really ails the medical service system in the State. How could he come to decide that his announced cash award would bring in the necessary remedy?

Transfer and posting of Doctors is a main factor of dissatisfaction that severely affect their zeal to stay dedicated to their work. My report Venality may be a Factor: An Instance for Study by the Health Minister was a pointer to this syndrome, which had led to an investigation and as a result thereof as many as 448 Doctors on long unauthorized absence were listed to be dismissed. Only a second official investigation can reveal – who escaped the government action and how. As far as I know, fellows with their godfathers in the Secretariat had escaped the action by joining new posts on promotion.

Medical Colleges being very lucrative to faculties more interested in private practice, situation being unmanageable,as shown in the linked article, the government had to codify a transparent policy of transfer under Notification No.22051 dated 30.8.2017. At B (i) of this Notification it has been stipulated that, “Any post in which the incumbent has completed 3 years in any college, will be considered as vacant.” And, if anything could be stated with emphasis, I deem it proper to report that, this Norm is more conspicuous by its violation than implementation.

This seriously suggests that the government under Sri Naveen Patnaik has blatantly failed to ensure proper administration official norms and discipline in the health department, as a result of which good Doctors have taken volunteer retirement and left their services in sheer disgust with the rest of many dedicated Doctors suffering irretrievable loss of zeal.

Its remedy lies in elimination of the environment of godfather’s reign in the secretariat and never in the misconceived cash award announced by the Chief Minister. The notion of incentive is absolutely wrong, inasmuch as every paid worker, be he a Doctor or a secretary, is bound to render his assigned service in failure of which disciplinary action is the only action mooted and provided for in the law.

Better be it appreciated that, cash incentive to a paid servant is nothing but official bribe given to the said servant to obtain from him/her the service the people have been paying for. We stress upon a deep study of the impact of this nuisance on other segments of administration, before the government proceed ahead with this announcement.

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