Manipur: NHM staff begins stir; demands regularization of services

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Kaybie Chongloi

Amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the state, the contractual staffs and employees of National Health Mission, Manipur under the aegis of All Manipur National Health Mission Employees Welfare Association (AMNEWA) commenced its stir on July 1 over the alleged non responsiveness of the state government and concerned authorities on the issue of their service regularization.

The NHM staff has been rendering their services ever since the functioning of National Health Mission in 2006 in the state with a meagre honorarium till today. Earlier the AMNEWA has warned of a cease work strike from July 1 if authorities concerned do not deliberate on the issue of regularisation of contractual staff of the NHM Manipur.

Moreover, in connection with the demand, the AMNEWA also submitted a petition to the State Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, requesting him to consider the plights of the NHM staffs and materialize their demand on or before June 30.

The association also had a meeting with SDM and Principal Secretary on June 29 and submitted a memorandum in connection with their demands. Following which they were to begin the stir by donning a ‘Black Badge’ on July 1 and further decided to launch ‘Cease work strike’ from July 8 if the Government and concerned authorities fail to give a positive response during the black badge days.

The state COVID-19 tally had crossed its 1,000-mark on June 26 with new cases still continuing almost every day. More than 2,300 health workers under National Health Mission posted at all the health centres in the state are contributing immensely in the fight against the pandemic and their stir would also highly affect the functioning of the health sector.

Earlier in the petition signed by Kh. Jodha Singh, Secretary, AMNEWA submitted to the Chief Minister Manipur, the association stated that it may not be suitable at this hour but the need arises as it depicts the present status of long-neglected staffs of NHM, Manipur who have been serving the common people without any securities with their meagre honorarium.

The National Health Mission (NHM) formerly National Health Rural Mission (NHRM) which had been started in the state from June, 2006 covered all the health related national programmes launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India by funding in the share of 90:10 as Union and State and as it has covered adolescent health, communicable/non-communicable diseases and urban health, etc. the number of recruited staffs has reached above 2,300 in the state.

Asserting that the recruited staffs appointed on a contractual basis, have no job security. Jodha stated that the contractual staff of RMSA/SSA, RD&PR, DRDA have been absorbed by their respective Departments except for the NHM staff. The contractual staffs of National Health Mission are left out time and again while its parent department, i.e. Health and Family Welfare Department does not give any preference to the trained/experience NHM staffs whenever any vacancies arise.

“They [the Government and the concerned authorities] hardly recognized our services and not a single policy initiated towards absorption/post creation of the long-suffered staffs”, stated the AMNEWA petition.

The AMNEWA also pointed out that in the present COVID-19 health crisis/pandemic, staffs of NHM, Manipur are helping in various quarantine centres in the state, screening points at Mao and Jiribam, in sample collection, in COVID-19 control rooms, in line listing/data entry of returnees and also in online submission/confirmation of the cases in Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) portal.

It further mentioned that apart from the tight and tireless schedule, all the contractual staffs of NHM, Manipur contributed their one day honorarium to the Chief Minister’s COVID Relief Fund amounting to Rs. 11,65,060/- as their responsibility towards the state.

“However, we are strongly discouraged as there is no security for us and there are long pending issue which the authority always defer to address,” it added.

The association demand the state Chief Minister in the petition to frame a clear human resource policy which will address issues like salary rationalization, pay anomalies, seniority, releasing of increments on time, etc; and raise the issue in cabinet meetings and assembly sessions.

The stir was also supported and endorsed by all contractual staffs of NHM in all the districts including Kangpokpi District. The contractual staffs of NHM under Kangpokpi District were seen discharging their duties in their respective workplaces while donning a black badge.

The protesting contractual staffs also said that they would further endorse the move of AMNEWA in its proposed cease work strike from July 8, if the State Government and concerned authorities fail to assure service regularization as demanded by AMNEWA.

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