Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh government has decided to provide certain medicines prescribed by doctors at government hospitals free of cost.

The state government, in a latest cabinet meeting presided by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, accorded approval to provide 66 items including 56 drugs and 10 consumables such as gloves and gauze free of cost to all the patients in all government health institutions, under the Free Drug Policy (started by union government in 2012, to provide medical benefits to needy. Under Free Drug Policy every citizen of the country was entitled to free generic drugs in all public health centers).

The Cabinet also approved enhancement in stipend of Senior and Junior Resident doctors and DM/PG students. Recently junior doctors statewide were on strike demanding increase in their stipend. They were claiming the neighboring states were paying almost double to what they are getting in the state.

They had even threatened to intensify their strike if government didn’t pay heed to their demands. Agitating doctors also raised their demand with the Chief Minister, who had assured to look into their demands sympathetically.

In another important decision, the Himachal cabinet accorded approval for re-employment to the teaching faculty of Medical Colleges who are likely to retire in 2016 on case to case basis.

The age of superannuation for medical faculty of IGMC, Shimla and Tanda Medical College including Principal and Director, Medical Education has been retained as 62 years. Whereas faculty members i.e. Professors, Associate Professors opting for posting to Nahan, Hamirpur or Chamba Medical colleges would be given extension in service up to 65 years on case by case basis.

However, after 65 years of age, they would also be considered for re-employment, but won’t be eligible for holding administrative position.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.