Mumbai: With honorariums of Professors, associate professors and assistant professors at 14 state-run medical colleges, three state-run dental colleges and four state-run ayurvedic colleges hanging fire for nearly 4 years, the situation has turned pathetically embarrassing for senior retired professors on the job. They are to be paid a small sum of Rs. 1,500 per month for their lectures and expert medical services. Despite the paltry sum ,the payment has not been dispersed to the faculties, according to a recent report in Mid-day.
Highlighting the issue, Dr Vijay Tapase, 65, Former Hon. Professor of Surgery attached to Grant Medical College and the former President of Honorary Doctors Association told the Mid-day daily, “This is clear discrimination between medical teachers who are state employees and honorary teachers. While honorary teachers are paid a stipend of Rs 1,500 per month, full-time teachers are paid an amount between Rs 70,000 and Rs 1.50 lakh depending on their seniority and designations. However, for almost two years, we have been deprived of the stipend. Four of the Grant Medical college-run hospitals — St Georges, JJ, Cama and GT hospitals — in all have around 100 RCTs, and there are 180 across Maharashtra.”
Worst still, a raise in this honorarium from Rs 1,500 to Rs 15,000, which was announced by the state health department, is still to take off from the ‘paper stage’ to that of ‘actual disbursement.’
Health department officials explain it to be a delay at the state finance ministry’s end. They state without budgetary provisions being made, the increment will not take off the ground.
As if injustice done in the delay stated above wasn’t enough, the state has now circumvented a Government Regulation (GR) passed in 2010, stating faculty age to have been raised from 58 to 62 for retirement. This circumvention has invited criticisms of those affected.
Interestingly, despite the government resolution, the Grant Medical College insists on visiting faculty not being older than 58 years, and the possibility of reappointment, for a period of 364 days, after a gap of one day.
“While the state government has increased the limit of retirement from 58 years to 62 years, and extended our service for another three years up to 65 years on contractual basis at a pay scale of around Rs 50,000, we are now being designated as Regular Contractual Teachers (RCTs) and deprived of this facility. Even the Medical Council of India has allowed faculty members to continue teaching till 70 years and has mooted a proposal to the union government to increase the age limit to 75 years due to the scarcity of medical teachers. Why are we being made scapegoats?” said Dr Tapase
Responding to the issue, Joint Director, Dr T P Lahane, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) however, had something different to say: “All the honorary teachers who shared bank details are getting the honorarium of Rs 1,500 monthly. Many haven’t submitted the details fearing that their PAN details would reveal their other bank accounts and source of income,” he told midday
On the increment issue, Lahane added, “The proposal has already been approved by the Medical Education minister and the file has been sent to Finance Department for necessary budget allocation.”