How to process salary for a Self drawing gazetted officer via SPARK

I submitted my first salary bill to the treasury today. The procedure to be followed is this:

First, I had to give an RTC form along with a copy of the posting order to the treasury. They then provided a Specimen signature card, in which I had to make three different signatures in front of another gazetted officer drawing salary from the same treaury (Karunagapally treasury in my case)-I got it attested from the Tahsildar. Once I submitted the Specimen signature card, they opened a Saving Bank (SB) account for me and provided the Account number. They also provided the SDO code (Self drawing officer code), which I then entered into the Service and Payroll Repository of Kerala (SPARK). Once I did that, my Spark account and AG payslip were linked to the Treasury.

Today, I submitted a request in paper, asking for cheque book and passbook, and had to fill another specimen signature card, this time for the Savings Bank account. Within 15 minutes, I received my cheque book and passbook. For submitting the Bill, I had to login to Spark.

The Spark procedure to generate and print a Salary bill is detailed below:

Generating a Salary Bill

If this is not the first salary, you have to first “Update encashment details” of last month’s salary before you can process the current month’s salary.

Salary>SDO Salary>Update encashment details

You can see the processed last month’s salary. Select it, then enter the date when you got the money transferred to your Treasury account or got it as cash. And select proceed.

Note that it won’t give a prompt for confirmation. However the data will be logged in system. Now, y0u can proceed to process the current month’s salary.

Salary>SDO Salary>Salary processing.

Choose the month and year.

Choose Pay among ‘Pay’ and ‘Leave Salary’.

Choose ‘Proceed’.



and submit the job for processing after verifying amount and deductions. Then, one can see the job completion status. Once the estimated time is over, login again to print the bills.

Printing Salary Bill and Schedules

Then, Salary>SDO Salary>Salary Bill and Schedules>Choose the month.

Click on the “Select” link next to the month. The site pops up a box saying “This may take some time”. Ignore the warning. You’re just going to view the generated bill and not process it again.

You’re now able to view a set of new links, like “Outer Bill”, “PF Schedule”, “LIC Schedule”, “Group Insurance Scheme”. Each of this links lead to downloading of the respective bills (Salary statement) as a PDF file. The outer bill is the main salary bill. I had to print both Salary bill and Group insurance scheme schedule.

Once everything was generated, I had to take a print of the salary slip and schedule for GIS (which I had to subscribe to in September), stick a Re 1 Court fee stamp on the printout of salary slip, near the first signature coloumn, sign on the stamp and the paper and also adjacent to the stamp in a signature coloumn, sign on the reverse near the HRA statement. I had to attach the AG’s slip in original, the salary bill and the schedule for GIS, along with a maroon coloured Challan, tie all three with a twine and submit it to one of the officers. It was immediately taken up for processing and I could then leave. The entire process took an hour.

Scanned Salary Bills:

Below, I have scanned and annotated a typical salary bill and the Treasury challan. These have to be tagged together and submitted to the treasury.




After these were done, I had to return to the Treasury after the second working day to collect my cash via Treasury cheque.


ESI Dispensary, Mynagapally

Mynagapally is an idyllic location, far from the bustle of the city. It’s on the way from Karunagapally to Sasthankotta, and nearer to the latter. The institution is hardly 2 km from the Sasthankotta railway station. My schedule has been regularized more or less. In the morning, I board the Cape-Mumbai express (Commonly known as ‘Jayanti’), and after work, the Parasuram Express (Mangalore-Nagercoil). Very few trains stop at Sasthankotta though, and I have to board a bus from Karunagapally after alighting there in the morning.

I’ve acquainted myself with a ‘shortcut’ to the Sasthankotta railway station, and I walk to the station located 2 km away, after work. Around 4:30, I board the train and I’m back in Trivandrum at around 6:30. Travelling is a bit of a bother, but at least I get to get back home every day. It beats having to stay in a different district like some of my colleagues had to.

The ESI Dispensary at Mynagapally is located at a place called Theepettimukku, also known as Udaya junction.


Joined Health Service

Mynagapally. 1 September, 2012

Today I joined service in Kerala State Insurance Medical Services department as Asst Insurance Medical Officer. After visiting the Regional Deputy Director’s office in Kollam (Polayathode), I visited the institution where I will be working for the better part of possibly the next three years. It’s an idyllic location. One might be going too far if one dubs it a village, as there are no true villages in Kerala. The journey by bus was strenuous. It took an hour from Kollam to Karunagapally, and half an hour from Karunagapally to Mynagapally.

The ESI dispensary itself is located near the bus stop at Mynagapally. The stop was named for the junction, though the name of the junction escaped my memory.

To my relief, I found that the return journey by train was much more comfortable. The Sasthankotta railway station is just a brisk twenty minute walk from the hospital, and I’m condering keeping a motor cycle there for easy conveyance. There are numerous houses near the station where the owners have built sheds to store motor cycles of daily commuters. I have to arrange something of this sort. Next up is getting a “Season ticket” for Indian Railways. It’s a boon for daily commuters, as the cost of the ticket is barely that of the sum of four tickets to and fro.

I didnt get to meet the Insurance Medical Officer, Dr Devarajan, though I got to see the accolades that he and the institution had got this year, when my hospital was adjudged the Best ESI Dispensary, 2012, and Dr Devarajan was given an award of Best Doctor. It seems that I have to fill big shoes, but of course Dr Devarajan is going to continue in the institution too. There are two other doctors in the institution, and I have not met them yet.

Thoughts Workplace

>Love at first sight

>Yesterday, on my way to my hospital, I decided to take a short cut. I ended up losing my way altogether.

The road from Peroorkada to Tholicode meanders through a volley of hills, and passes through Nedumangadu. There is a lesser known road which goes through Nedumangad Town, a road which I’d been avoiding because of traffic snarls in the town. I’d returned a couple of times by that route,  but never before, taken it on the way to the hospital.  Since Saturdays aren’t usually busy in my hospital, I decided to give it a try.

The road
The shortcut is supposed to be 2.5 kilometres shorter than the regular road. So I was surprised when at the end of half an hour of drive, I found that the dash speedo was showing 4 km more than the calculated distance, with my target nowhere in sight. If truth be told, I hadn’t seen a single main diversion on my way. But guess I must have missed one of the smaller, more devious ones. Anyway,when I stopped at a wayside eatery and enquired on the road to me destination, I was petrified on hearing that I had about 20 kilometres more to go. The total distance from my home to the hospital is 30km, and I had already traversed 12 km when I decided on teh shortcut. Now, apparently, I had somehow managed to distance myself in the farthest possible direction! 

I got directions and proceeded at a slower pace. Two or three kilometres later, the road narrowed to a dirt trail with small streams on the side with crude bridges atop, made of felled trees. After a turn, the view in front was stunning. Huge mountains garlanded with cumulus clouds glistened in the rain, and the road in front was seperated from them by a deep abyss. The amazing thing about this was that I’ve often visited so-called Tourist destinations for enjoying Nature in its fête. But this, so close to home surpassed any other in beauty. And unbelievably, this still was Trivandrum district.
Scenery 2
I took a couple of photos. Being late for OP, I couldnt spend much time there. But I will go back and revisit. Such is the magnetism of Love at first sight!

Update: Next day, I got the fortune of following a VSSC bus along the same (or not) shortcut. To my consternation, I found that the turn I’d missed was the first turn after entering Nedumangad town! I’d gone straight ahead. If only I’d been humble enough to stop and ask.. But I guess if I had, I would have never discovered this tiny paradise. All it lacks is a shimmering lake flowing in the midst of the hills.

I take the shortcut daily now, and have not got lost again. But I didn’t get the pleasure of getting lost again too. Why couldn’t I have got lost when I had enough time on my hands? We go about seeking leisure trips. We plan elaborately. Yet, it’s those unplanned forays into the unknown that satisfy us. Such is Life. It gives us what we hadn’t hoped for, and often hides from us, that which we strived for!


>Tholicode Primary Health Centre


Tholicode Primary Health Centre is an hour’s drive from my home. It’s a few kilometres from Vithura and on the way to Ponmudi, a popular tourist destination. The people seem pleasant and the staff very comfortable to work with. It does have inpatient facilities but since there are only two doctors available (we need at least four), we aren’t admitting many people. The drive is relaxing, a far cry from the one to Nemom, where I was posted last time.
Yes, studies are suffering, but I’ve resolved to finish this compulsory service, at least to continue it as far as I can. I had a quick appointment at Shankar Netralaya an eye hospital in Chennai. I wanted to confirm the diagnosis of Retinal degeneration that was stamped by the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology in Trivandrum. It’s supposed to be a progressive condition, but what I have seems to be benign. Shankar Netralaya is impressive. The entry pass there consists of multicolored wristbands which they snap around – the wrist, of course! Well, I forgot to remove mine after appointment, and wondered at the looks people threw at me on the bus. Funny-I thought they were staring because they might have understood I wasn’t from TN-not that it deserves a stare!
It’s so strange how all the metros seem so similiar to each other. I now am sure that I won’t have a problem living in any of them. I’m fluent in Hindi, so that means North India and Mumbai is easy. And now I am becoming fairly fluent in Tamil, so much so that people have started to respond to my queries in fast Tamil-they don’t do that if they think you’re an outsider. But the problem is with wayside peddlers. After a sentence of so of bargaining with them, they start speaking to you in Malayalam!! Which means a bad bargain for the goods you were intending to buy! I suppose they are adept in finding out people from other regions too.



>Goodbye Rural service..


27 February 2010.

“The first step is the hardest”

Correct that last post! Technically I did join back for rural service, and worked a tiresome two weeks too, but I handed in the ‘papers’ today! Well, you can’t “step in two boats at the same time”, to quote a Malayalam proverb! I asked for permission to be able to work 2-3 days a week, but was denied. I was told that they needed people in the OP too. Well, truth is there are too many people in our CHC, and people have gotten comfortable with that. So much so that some people take too many leaves, Casual leaves, Compensatory leaves, and other categories of leaves. Some people (read Health Service Doctors) have everything. We CRS doctors put in as much effort, and get paid a pittance. We get a paltry 15,000 (no not dollars per annum) rupees a month, and a scrimpy 20 days of leave per year, while health service doctors have all the fun, and get paid easily four times that much. Even NRHM doctors get paid double.

It isn’t the lack of cash benefits that affects me. I believe that CRS is an interim ‘essential evil’. People who’ve skipped it this year have got all the best seats in All India PGMEE this year. I haven’t heard of more than one person (Praveen Shenoy’s an exception) who’s completed rurals and got a PG seat too simultaneously. So when asked to either come for regular duty or write a long leave, I chose the latter-the lesser of the two evils. I’ll probably receive a ‘show-cause’ notice from the Health Department, but at least, I didn’t just disappear without a trace. I gave a formal notice of leave. If they find fault with that, they can fire me! 😉

So it’s also Goodbye to Trivandrum. At times, you’ve got to do what you think is best. No matter how many misgivings you may have, at in some convolution in your cortex, there’s a clear cognitive signal that favors one decision over another. It’s the impulse that’s involved in choice. It’s also what some people dub fate. I’ll reiterate here that I don’t believe in fate! Sure, fate may have role in accidents, lotteries or other events that we dub chance. But certainly not in things that matter, or are life-saving. Why, if you believed in fate, you’d as well go stand in the middle of the road and have fate decide where to take you! So much for fate. Yawwwnn… I’ve got the penultimate of my CHC duties tomorrow, and it’s a morning duty too! So I’ll finally heed the cozy bed! Goodbye World… So long..

P.S. I don’t know when the next post will be. I’ll probably banish the computer from my life for a few months. And there might be a phone number change too. Call my old cell number, and if I know you, I’ll call u back from my new one.. 😀 The whole point is to avoid roaming charges, my friend!


>If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. A case in point for CMEs


“Humans seem to have the urge to improve things. Prehistoric hand-axes were made by repeatedly chipping small flakes off pebbles of flint with other hard objects. Million-year-old examples of these have been found that give the impression of being ruined by being chipped just one time too many. That pang of regret we have probably all felt after spoiling something by adding that unnecessary final touch was first faced by Ugg in his cave.”

The daily mail I received from the site today made me remember an incident that happened a couple of days back. I was working in my hospital. It was OP time, and among others, I saw a middle-aged lady with a characteristic facies you usually associate with chronic illnesses. She told me that she had come for admission. I asked her why. She told me that she was under treatment of one of the senior Medical Officers (but a General Practitioner) in the hospital, and that he had told her to come and be admitted for treatment. What he had failed to mention was that it was his duty-off day. Because I had no clue about what illness she was suffering from, I asked her for further details. She gave me an investigation result which showed that her ASO titers (Anti-streptolysin O-For the uninitiated, let’s just say that it’s a marker of Streptococcal antigen, our common cause of sore throat, and also the cause of Rheumatic Fever) were high, in the 300s. She told me that she has taken repeated shots of Penicillin in the hospital. I then asked her whether she had any cardiac condition. She told me that she had been thoroughly evaluated, and was found negative. I then asked her when her ‘disease’ was found out. She gave me her history, and this is how I recall it:

Dakshayani (true name withheld for obvious reasons) wasn’t suffering from any disease till a couple of years back. Two years ago, when she had a fever, she was evaluated by a physician, and an ASO titer was taken. It apparently showed high levels, and she was referred to Medical College Hospital, the referral tertiary hospital, for further evaluation to rule out Rheumatic heart disease. Aside: Rheumatic fever is a condition which commonly presents in young age (5-15years), and may in case of non-detection or inadequate treatment, cause heart valve damage. Long standing cases and severe cases lead to a disease in cardiac valves. Anyway, in her evaluation at MCH, any serious illness including Rheumatic Heart Disease was completely ruled out, she was given a clean chit and asked to complete an oral course of meds at home.

She returned to the primary physician, who also assured her that contrary to his primary diagnosis, she was fit to be sent home on meds. Somehow at this point, she must have become unhappy with the service provided at MCH and by this doc, because she sought a third opinion with the General Practitioner at our Hospital. And this almost-octogenarian impressed upon her that her condition was very grave, and asked her to be admitted for a protracted course of meds for cure. Accordingly she got admitted, and was treated with a rigorous course of parenteral (IV) antibiotics. Since then, she has been continuously monitored by her ASO titer, and as soon as a mild increase was noted, she was admitted and the same course repeated.

At this point, as a side note I must say that Rheumatic fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease is a clinical diagnosis, and an ASO titer is only an ‘essential’ criterion, which is not specific for the condition. The course of treatment which this ‘experienced Medical Officer’ meted out has never been mentioned as part of any medical protocol, and is completely contrary to Evidence Based Medicine.

Truth is, this doctor had passed out from one of the very early batches of Medical College, Trivandrum, and ever since has been employed in Health Service in primary care in the periphery. Like many others now practising in the Health Service, he has never bothered to update his knowledge on the basis of evolving medical knowledge, and has been content to practice what he knew. The fact that he has never bothered to keep abreast of the latest medical knowledge has never deterred him from his practice. Whatever may be the case, this is prima facie, a clear violation of the principle of Primum non nocere, meaning First Do no harm. He has made a perfectly normal human being suffer needlessly and waste two years of her precious life, just because he misjudged and misdiagnosed, which is a direct consequence of his not updating his rusted knowledge.

This is a clear case for the MCI (Medical Council of India)’s stipulation that Doctors must attend a set number of hours of CME for renewal of their Medical Registration. But maybe they should make doctors take some basic tests periodically too, so that weeds of incompetence and laziness in the greatest profession can be uprooted.

Thoughts Workplace

>Of Doctors and Humility


Many a time, as students and later on as fresh graduate doctors, we’ve scoffed at old timers in the health services, for their irrational use of steroids for treatment. Even in my own hospital, I know doctors who talk critically of a particular doctor for prescribing steroids to many of her patients who present with joint aches. Steroids provide rapid symptom relief, but they have a personal arsenal of side effects. So much so that many people shy of using them for even conditions where they’re strictly indicated such as asthma. But now it seems that our colleague had the last laugh after all. It’s odd how knowledge opens our eyes to many things which previously were hidden from us. It seems that most of the patients whom we’d labelled as functional, and who used to complain of aches all over the body, were actually suffering from a disease called Polymyalgia rheumatica which actually explains every symptom they were suffering from. But here’s where it gets better.. Steroids are actually the treatment of choice for these patients! No wonder they were reporting dramatic symptom relief after the ‘wonder injections’ given by our colleague.

Well, the truth is that the doctor didn’t actually know about this particular condition and was treating from her experience with similiar patients, and that steroids in this case are preferred orally. But it’s also a lesson for us doctors who scoff at something just because we’re blissfully ignorant of something. It’s time to open our eyes, and to learn a little bit of humility.

Posted via email from Joel G Mathew’s Posterous Page


>Of Medical Officers, the Police and Drunkards..

>It irks me that I haven’t written anything on my current workplace for posterity to ponder! So here goes..

I joined Community Health Centre, Shanthivila, Nemom as a ‘Snehithan Doctor’ (Ah that’s the name coined by the Kerala govt) under the Compulsory rural service scheme of the Government of Kerala. My thoughts and opinions on this are extensive, esp with regard to the unfair posting of only government medical college students here, while the private medical college graduates who studied at the same fees were set free. Anyway though my blog is by definition, my place to rant for hours, it is only highly probable that such harangue will dissuade any reader from a second glance here, as noone would be daft enough to grasp a live wire twice, so to speak.. 🙂

Anyway, CHC Nemom, is a beautiful place, speaking relatively. The journey there is after crossing the busy Trivandrum city. It takes me about 40 mins to get there in the morning and close to double of that in the evening. We have all shifts in rotation. OP’s from 8am-1pm. There are also, afternoon and night shifts. Since the CHC caters to two Police Stations-namely the ones at Nemom and Karamana, it’s not an odd sight to see two police vehicles parked outside our OP at the same time. We’re called upon to give drunkenness certificates, and other medicolegal certificates, which is of course my first brush with the legal aspects of our profession. It does carry along with it a certain respect from the lawkeepers, since they hold medical officers with a certain kind of respect. Though there are of course the odd policemen who refuse to salute, and make do with a gesture which can best be dubbed as the bracing position in which we percuss the anterior chest wall!

Medicolegal certificates are interesting. Some drunken people take it upon themselves to abuse us, and some stress that we’re corrupt because blood is not being drawn for testing the alcohol levels. Actually blood isnt being tested because of the procedural problems. If drawn, it needs to be preserved with a special reagent, which isnt available at most of the hospitals. Then there is the problem of transporting it to the chemical examiner’s lab in a sealed condition. I asked an Assistant Professor in Forensics for the legal aspect. And he confirmed that the law didnt specify it essential that blood be drawn. And that our medical findings are the final word!

There was also the occasional sparks that went flying when I gave a medical certificate of “Not consumed alcohol” when the Police Sub Inspector had recorded an evidence that the person had consumed alcohol. Of course I held my stance. The guy may have consumed alcohol, quite possibly, but I had no medical evidence in favor of drunkenness. And being an expert witness in court, I think I wouldnt have any difficulty in explaining my stance. I also have deviated from the usual practise done by medical officers here in writing “Consumed alcohol but not under its influence” in all cases. This of course is a ploy on their part to save their own skins. This is a statement which is pleasant to all parties concerned. The police who catches hold of people just to make their tally, the person who has consumed alcohol but is under its influence, and the medical officer are all happy. I don’t shy away from giving “Consumed alcohol and is under its influence” reports. It is my stand that persons who have actually consumed alcohol heavily and is actually in no position to drive, should by no means be allowed to drive. And if a doctor goes along with the general trend and gives him a certificate of not under influence, he’d be escaping justice, and we’d just have ourselves to blame when we read the news about people who’ve hit pedestrians or some child on the footpath by overspeeding or other rash driving after being drunk. Again, I have no sympathy with the police who bring people who have just taken a beer or so, and have most medical signs negative for alcohol consumption or influence. Last time I gave a certificate of “Not consumed alcohol”, it had the effect of drawing the Karamana Sub Inspector to our hospital demanding an explanation. I gave him one.. 🙂