Tamil Nadu

Allocation for grant of COVID-19 incentives is in the final stage

Healthcare professionals and workers who were involved in COVID-19 management are yet to receive the special pay/incentives promised since last year. Now, the allocation of funds for grant of the incentives is in the final stage, say officials.

Last year, the AIADMK government promised healthcare workers involved in COVID-19 management a one-month “special pay”, but the promise remains unfulfilled. In May this year, the DMK government announced incentives ranging from ₹15,000 to ₹30,000 for doctors, medical students, nurses and other staff members who worked directly with COVID-19 patients continuously for three months — April, May and June 2021.

A doctor working at one of the government hospitals in Chennai said, “We have not received any incentive till now. After the previous government made an announcement, the hospital administration prepared a list of names and designation of the staff who worked in COVID-19 management. Such a list was prepared for at least three to four times, but no incentive was given. After the new government took over, another list was prepared and sent. I think the issue is in who to include and who to exclude...”

A nurse attached to a primary health centre pointed out that two lists were sent for the grant of incentives. “All of us have worked in COVID-19 management in one way or the other. This will include sanitary workers, too.”

An official of the Health Department said the allocation of funds for the payment of incentives was in the final stage.

Official sources said the Health Department asked the Revenue Department for additional funds. Earlier this month, it had written to the Revenue and Disaster Management Department, noting that a detailed proposal for around ₹399 crore for grant of incentives for eligible staff of 10 Departments was submitted to the government. The government had issued an order sanctioning ₹160 crore for the staff who had worked directly with COVID-19 patients. The Department pointed out that it was impossible to pay the eligible staff of 10 big Departments with ₹160 crore.

All the Departments involved in COVID-19 work — for instance, a nurse in the Greater Chennai Corporation — was eligible for the incentive, an official added.

“The proposal was for about ₹200 crore, compared with the initial estimate of ₹160 crore. It is in the advance stage of approval for the revised amount. With ₹160 crore already allocated, we have sent a proposal for getting the additional amount of ₹39 crore-₹40 crore,” a health official said.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 3:11:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/allocation-for-grant-of-covid-19-incentives-is-in-the-final-stage/article36726291.ece

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