The Health Ministry is urgently waiting to fill vacant posts of senior officers who will work with India's COVID-19 response team. It has raised concern about "acute stress" in the fight against COVID-19 due to these vacancies.
In a letter to the Department of Personnel and Training or DoPT, the Secretary in the Health Ministry, Rajesh Bhushan, reminded about his request two months ago to fill the vacancies.
"As you are aware that even though the pandemic of COVID-19 is declining, however, we cannot let our guard down. At this crucial juncture, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is required to put in extra efforts to ensure full preparedness across the country," Mr Bhushan said in the letter to the DoPT, which makes policies for the government for recruitment and regulation of officers and other staff.
"Vacant positions of one joint secretary and eight DS (deputy secretaries)/directors have put this ministry under acute stress. It is therefore suggested that an early and timely action may be taken to fill up the existing vacancies and also the vacancies arising in the coming weeks," Mr Bhushan said in the letter addressed to Deepti Umashankar, establishment officer and additional secretary in the DoPT.
In the letter, Mr Bhushan also mentioned the names of eight officers who have moved out of the ministry either on study leave or due to promotion or repatriation. His wrote the first letter on August 12.
The pace of vaccination across the country has been speeding up continuously and the figure is set to reach the 100 crore mark any day now, with 97.14 crore vaccinations completed so far. It is in this context that the Health Ministry needs senior hands to continue overseeing the entire Covid management processes.
The country reported 16,862 new coronavirus infections today, taking the total tally to 3,40,37,592, while active cases declined to 2,03,678, the lowest in 216 days, according to the Health Ministry data.