Kerala to retain only minimal contract staff recruited under COVID brigade, says Healh Minister Veena George

The State Government has decided to retain only as many contract employees recruited under the COVID brigade as is necessary to fill the human resource shortages in critical areas in the health sector, Health Minister Veena George said in the Assembly here on Wednesday.

Though 20,000-odd employees had been recruited earlier on a temporary basis under the brigade when the second wave of the pandemic was sweeping across the State, these employees were now found to be in excess as the COVID situation in the State was well within control, she said.

In case the pandemic situation in the State takes a turn for the worse, these retained employees of the COVID brigade can be recalled from within the sector, said the Minister.

Ms. George was replying to a calling attention motion raised by A. C. Moideen that the dismissal of a chunk of the COVID brigade employees could adversely affect the health system, disease prevention and control activities in the State.

She said that medical and non-medical staff in various categories had been recruited under the brigade on a temporary basis to ensure that COVID activities across districts were well-coordinated.

Funds exhausted

The funds for paying their salaries had come from the COVID management funds provided by the Centre. When the second wave was sweeping across the State, the districts had to recruit more people, and by July 2021, this fund was exhausted.

The State required ₹35 crore a month to pay the salaries of these 19,510 personnel. Once the Centre’s funds were exhausted, the salaries till August were paid from the National Health Mission’s COVID package, said Ms. George.

She agreed with Mr. Moideen that when many hospitals in the public sector had been made exclusive COVID hospitals, the hospital development societies in these institutions went into a dire financial situation.

The matter has been raised with the Finance Department, which has now allocated some funds for the functioning of the hospital development societies, she said.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 10:22:31 AM |

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