Govt docs to stage protest over biometric attendance system

PATNA: Government doctors under the banner of the Bihar Health Services Association (BHSA) will wear black badges to work for a week between September 29 and October 5 if the state health department does not revoke its decision to link biometric attendance with their salary, said a BHSA communique on Sunday.

According to the communiqué issued by Dr. Ranjeet Kumar, BHSA general secretary the decision was taken following a meeting of the BHSA core committee. “If the government still does not heed the demands, the doctors will boycott outdoor patient department work on October 6 while attending to emergency duty,” the communiqué said.

The health department has made biometric attendance mandatory and the government doctors, especially those posted at the level of sadar (district) hospital and below, are protesting the decision.

The doctors contend that they are already understaffed and are managing their duty through mutual arrangements with their colleagues. With the biometric attendance system, they will not have the flexibility to mutually alter and adjust their working hours.

“There are only around 5,600 doctors against 13,800 sanctioned posts. Doctors have to work for 12 to 24 hours at a stretch sometimes. We are not averse to biometric attendance. All that we are demanding is that the government should fill up the vacancies, give us a non-practicing allowance and also implement the old pension scheme,” said Dr. Hasra Abbas, a core committee member of the BHSA from Nalanda district.