Bhushan pointed out that vacancies in the role of a Joint Secretary and eight Director/Deputy Secretaries had put the ministry under stress.
The Union Health Ministry has raised alarm over nine senior-position vacancies in its Covid team putting the team under “acute stress”.
In a letter to Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) Establishment Officer and Additional Secretary Deepti Umashankar, dated October 13, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said even though the pandemic was waning, the ministry could not lower its guard.
He added that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare needed to put in extra effort to ensure full preparedness in the country at this critical juncture. Bhushan pointed out that vacancies in the role of a Joint Secretary and eight Director/Deputy Secretaries had put the ministry under stress.
Bhushan also sought timely action to fill the vacancies as well as those arising in the coming weeks.
This is the second time that Bhushan has highlighted ministerial vacancies in two months. He had earlier written to the DoPT on August 12regarding the vacant posts of Joint Secretary, Additional Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Director under the Central Secretariat Services’ Central Staffing Scheme.
Bhushan also shared names of 11 officers who have moved out of the Union Health Ministry or are about to with his latest missive.
Topping the list was Additional Secretary Vandana Gurnani, who was also Mission Director of the National Health Mission. She went on a one-year study leave in September. The others who have left are Nipun Vinayak, a Joint Secretary who looked after oxygen supply during the second Covid-19 wave, and Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal, the face of the government’s briefings on the pandemic. Vinayak was prematurely repatriated to his Maharashtra cadre while Agarwal completes his Health Ministry tenure on November 28.
Also named in Bhushan’s list were Bindu Tewari, an Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers official working in the Health Ministry as Director, who returned to her parent cadre on July 7; and N Yuvaraj, a Director in the Ministry who has now taken charge as Joint Secretary in the Department of Pharmaceuticals.