Surviving for months in a month’s salary


Lab-technicians at Primary Health Centers (PHC) in rural Karnataka are not getting salaries on a regular basis.

By Swati Ekka

Prakash, a lab technician in Sirwar complains of not receiving his salary on time. He said, “From the past three to four-year I am not getting monthly salary at the beginning of each month. Sometimes I receive it after two-three months. I have also complained to the district health doctor at Manvi from where the salary is disbursed but they also are not able to solve my problem. It is very difficult to manage a household for two-three months with one month’s salary.”

Like Prakash, there are many others who work in different taluks who complain that their salary is not disbursed on a regular basis. Even after complaining several times to the concerned authorities, no action has been taken by them to solve the issue.

Dr. Chandra Shekhar Swami at Manvi said, “Most of the time we also don’t get the salary on time. The District Health Department should look into the matter as soon as they can.”

There are two types of employees working with the health department: regular government employees and employees working on a contractual basis under the National Health Mission. Government employees working in the PHC get their salary from the finance department, whereas the ones who work on a contract basis get it from the National Health Mission.

Prakash is one of the regular working employees with health department who do not get salary on a regular basis.

Md Wasim another lab technician in Halsuru Government Hospital, said: “There are many lab technicians who work in PHCs in rural areas who don’t get salary regularly.”

Officials at the Health Department point out that they do not get enough funds from the government on time to allocate a monthly salary for the staff working in rural areas. Senior health officer at Raichur district health officer, said: “It is a common problem in rural Karnataka. We do not get funds on a regular basis from the government to distribute salaries of PHC staff.  Whenever we get lump sum money, we immediately disburse the salary in their salary account.”

An official from the state Health and Family Welfare Department blamed the budget for the issue. She said, “The salary is delayed because of the budget. We cannot disburse the salary unless the budget is passed. The department also needs time to prepare accounts and allocate the salaries, thus there is a delay of two-three months.”

Newton Tirkey a doctor at a government hospital, said, “The government should also sanction provisionary funds for the regular employees so that in case of thedelay in budget proceedings or shortage, they can use this provisionary fund to distribute salaries. This provisionary fund should be given to the Health Administration office so they have funds in hand to disburse salaries and do not have to wait for the budget.”