Order to ‘identify caste’ irks Rajasthan government doctors

JAIPUR: A state government’s order to identify the ‘jati’ (caste) of doctors in four districts went awfully wrong, forcing the government to term it as ‘a clerical mistake‘.

The health department, in a notification dated June 20, 2017, demanded details of castes of officials in charge of health centres in four districts – Barmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur and Nagaur. The notice raked up a major storm on Wednesday. Spending the entire day in denial or refusing to comment on it, officials in the evening were forced to withdraw the order and claim that it was a result of ‘confusion’.

Notification seeking caste details of doctors issued by health department

The order was issued by additional director (gazetted) to chief medical health officers of Bikaner, Nagaur, Jodhpur and Barmer on Tuesday. The subject of the notice categorically reads: “Prabhari Adhikari Chitiksakon Ki Jati Ke Sambandh Main (Caste related to in-charge doctors)”.

It asks chief medical health officers to gather information on castes of officials in charge at district hospitals, community health centres (CMHs) and primary health centres (PHCs) along with their names, designation and duration of their service. The order had given a five column table for the CMHOs to follow. Columns such as the serial number, name of doctor, designation, caste and for how long the doctor has been working in the post have been included.

It further asked castes of chief medical health officers and deputy chief medical officers of four districts. It also directed the desired information to be sent on the same day of issuing the order. The entire order spoke about the caste of doctors. During the day, health department officials, without wanting to come on record, claimed they had acted on the directives received from the chief minister’s office (CMO). “I was asked to issue the orders by higher authorities. I do not know much about it as well as the reasons for it,” a health department official said. He admitted that he had received calls from four districts to know why these details were being sought.

Having drawn flak through the day, the health department, in an attempt to hush up the matter, came up with a clarification. Health director Dr V K Mathur clarified that it was a clerical mistake. “It was just utter confusion. We never ask for castes of doctors or healthcare staff. In this letter, we asked for categories like SC/ST, general, specially abled. It was a column for category not caste. It happened due to utter confusion,” Dr Mathur said. However, the clarification came a little late. “I have send the report to the directorate, but I have no idea for what,” one of the four chief medical health officers of four districts said.http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/caste-order-irks-rajasthan-government-doctors/articleshow/59262512.cms