Maharashtra Medicos Threaten Strike over Non-payment of Stipend for last three months
Maharashtra government is testing our patience and taking resident doctors for granted. We are not beggars, we are demanding for what is ours, what we deserve and what is promised, Dr Dongre Central MARD President.
Mumbai: Issue of many medical colleges in Maharashtra having not paid the stipend for continuous periods of time persists to jeopardise the day to day life of resident doctors who are facing severe hardships on the monetary front for months.
Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) had been constantly fighting against this issue. With the salaries for three consecutive months, October to December, released on January this year, the matter of their stipends not being paid on time, has struck once again.
As stated to the media by the association, the resident doctors in the state have not been paid their salaries since three months (January to March) and now with the elections approaching, the model code of conduct has been imposed. In view of the same, the Directorate of Medical Education and Research Maharashtra Division (DMER Maharashtra) has stated that the stipends will be released after the election process is over.
This comes even as the Central MARD had written to the state government on March 23, threatening a strike over the issue of unpaid stipend, reports The Free Press Journal.
Earlier in December last year, 4,500 resident doctors went on protest, of which 1,000 protested by selling fruits in the campus of Sion Hospital and KEM hospital while black band commotions were witnessed at other medical institutes. However, following an assurance by the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over releasing of the stipend, the association had ended their agitation.
No funds plus ‘Code of Conduct’- Excuse
Now recently on approaching administration of respective colleges, the authorities have washed their hands off quoting the old reason of ‘College has no funds’ along with newly added ‘Code of Conduct’ excuse, alleged Dr Ashutosh Jadhav, President, MARD Nagpur. “In a meeting held on January 1, this year with the Ministry, we were promised to get assurance letter regarding hike in our stipend. But we have not got any such assurance letter or hike as of now,” Dr Jadhav informed Nagpur Today.
Dr Jadhav said that central MARD at Mumbai has been talking to DMER Chief Dr Tatyarao Lahane, but to no avail. Resident doctors at GMCH Akola, GMCH Latur and GMCH Ambejogai have not received their salaries.
Dr Kalyani Dongre, President Central MARD and a resident doctor from Nair Hospital, informed the Free Press Journal, “When we approached the DMER, they said a hike could only be discussed after elections and funds for the stipend would be sanctioned only after elections. “The state government is testing our patience and taking us for granted. We are not beggars, we are demanding for what is ours, what we deserve and what is promised,” she added.
“Now they say the hike in stipend would be thought after election. Also funds for stipend would be sanctioned only after elections. Due to which many resident doctors are suffering financial burden. As far as elections are concerned, many of us have to wait 5 months until we receive our stipend… If administration has no funds, then how the entire workforce of the hospital is getting their salary except the residents? Why only resident doctors have to suffer always when there are fund crises?” Dr Jadhav expressed his anguish over the issue.
MARD is questioning that despite imposition of TDS deduction on the stipends of residents why the fund required for payment of stipend has not been included under ‘Negative Balance’ mode of government budgetary allocations as it is used for the salaries of other employees, reports TOI.
"We are trying to resolve this at the earliest. About the stipend hike, since the model code of conduct has been applied, we cannot make the appeal to the government before May 23, Dr TP Lahane, Director, DMER told The Hindu.
Speaking to HT, DMER officials said the problem has arisen due to additional PG seats which did not have administrative approval. “Due to this, we fell short of money to pay the additional resident doctors who resumed work. We have used all possible additional funds and even applied to the state government for help. However, until the code of conduct concludes, the funds will not be released,” said Dr Lahane. He added that they will make payments for the month of April, with the help of funds which will be released on March 31.
“Increasing the PG seats is a good thing. The government has increased the resident seats from 110 to 170. But it has failed to make provision for the extra money for these residents,” said Dr Jadhav.
Meanwhile, the association feels that they are being taken for granted and if the issue is not resolved, they are planning to go on a statewide agitation for our rights.