Madhya Pradesh: Sterilisation circular scrapped after political furore

BHOPAL: Facing severe backlash, the state government on Friday scrapped a controversial circular that set sterilisation targets for male health workers and warned of salary loss and compulsory retirement for not meeting the goals.

After the circular ignited huge controversy with the opposition BJP targeting the Chief Minister Kamal Nath with references to the 1975 Emergency, the Congress government announced its immediate withdrawal and removed National Health Mission (NHM) director Chhavi Bharadwaj. She was shifted to Mantralaya as OSD. Director Ashyushman Mission Dr J Vijay Kumar has been given the charge of NHM.

The circular, issued by the state unit of the National Health Mission (NHM) on February 11, directed each male multi-purpose health workers (MPHWs) to get at least get one man sterilised in this fiscal, which ends on March 31, or their salaries would be withheld and they would be given compulsory retirement. The move by the state unit of the National Health Mission came after the National Family Health Survey-4 report recorded that only 0.5 per cent men were opting for sterilisation in Madhya Pradesh.

It asked top divisional officers and district officers, including those with the health department, to identify male workers with ‘zero work output’ and apply the ‘no work no pay’ principle if they don’t log at least one case in the 2019-20 period that ends next month. The circular stated that MPHWs should mobilise at least five to 10 willing beneficiaries when camps are held in districts.

No action against health workers: Silawat

Health minister Tulsi Silawat said, “ NHM’s order related to male sterilization has been nullified with immediate effect and no action will be taken against any employees of health department. We are looking into the details.”

'It emergency part 2’, tweets Chouhan

The BJP called the circular a reminder of the Emergency of 1975 imposed by the Congress government at the time, when several people were victims of a forced sterilisation campaign. Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan took to twitter terming it an 'undeclared emergency'. “ Is it emergency part 2. If Male Multipurpose Health Workers are not efficient, the state government should take appropriate action but withdrawing salaries and forceful retirement is autocratic,” BJp leader tweeted

The controversial diktat

The NHM circular directed each male multi-purpose health workers (MPHWs) to get at least get one man sterilised in this fiscal or their salaries would be withheld and they would be given compulsory retirement.

Also Read: 'Sterilise one person': Indira's 'third son' Kamal Nath's Health Ministry issues Emergency-like order