Thiruvananthapuram: A year ago the state Health department under the then Health Minister K.K. Shailaja was garnering all praise, but now in the second term of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the health secretary himself is saying that ‘the directorate of health services is the worst performing department’.
State Health Secretary Rajan Khobargade in a letter dated April 1 to his colleagues in the health department said that during a state-level meeting chaired by the Chief Secretary, he (chief secretary) had expressed his displeasure and had said that the directorate of health services was the worst performing department.
In the letter, Khobargade asked all his colleagues to “ensure that the HR issues are properly tackled and also the various Court cases where officials appear to take it lightly, have resulted in several cases being lost leading to paying compensations”.
He has also asked them to see that “all should ensure that they are providing a people-friendly service and creating proper dashboards informing the outcomes.”
Incumbent Health Minister Veena George was a surprise selection to the cabinet and lots of eyebrows were raised when she was catapulted to the higher echelons of power.
Although sources said that she was trying to do her best, yet things have not been going in the right direction as evident from Khobargade’s letter. George has been seen working at odd hours, inspecting various state-run hospitals and taking action against erring officials.
Having the full confidence of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who handpicked her in place of Shailaja, there does not appear to be any threat to her position currently.
Her office has been dishing out press releases highlighting what George is doing, much like Shailaja when she was at the helm. But, for some unknown reason, none has a clue on how the best department has come to become the worst and that too in a matter of months.
Vijayan won a second term in office after a spectacular victory in the April 2021 election and he assumed office in May.