Madhya Pradesh government withdrew its circular to health workers which warned of salary cuts if they failed to meet the sterilisation goals. The circular was withdrawn after it sparked a massive controversy on Friday, 21 February.
The contentious circular set sterilisation targets for male multi-purpose health workers (MPHWs) and warned of salary loss if those targets were not met.
Issued by the state unit of the National Health Mission (NHM), the circular directed each male MPHW to get at least one man sterilised in this fiscal, which ends on 31 March, or their salaries would be withheld and they would be given compulsory retirement.
After the circular received backlash, Health Minister Tulsi Silawat announced its immediate withdrawal.
“I have just now nullified the NHMs order with immediate effect. The language in it was not proper,” Silawat told PTI.
‘Reminder of 1975 Emergency’: BJP Slams MP Govt
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that the circular was a reminder of the 1975 Emergency, imposed by the then Congress government, during which several people underwent forced sterilisation campaign.
“It seems there is an emergency and the quartet of Sanjay Gandhi is trying to make its own rules and run the state. Will this kind of forced male sterilisation be done? The employees will be harassed in such a way... I think it is very objectionable,” BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agarwal, was quoted as saying by NDTV.
Union Minister Mahendra Nath Pandey said that people cannot be compelled to undergo sterilisation. BJP leader Rameshwar Sharma, meanwhile, attacked the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh over the order.
“If this diktat is like that given by Sanjay Gandh,i then it can be said that Kamal Nath is working like the third son of Indira Gandhi,” Sharma was quoted as saying by ANI.
He continued, "It will be an injustice if sterilisation is done forcefully. If sterilisation is done to check population explosion, then it should be done to individuals across religions.”
The move by the state unit of the National Health Mission had come after the National Family Health Survey-4 report recorded that only 0.5 per cent men were opting for sterilisation in Madhya Pradesh.
(With inputs from ANI, PTI, NDTV)
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