Mumbai: The stipend cut for taxes came as a shock for resident doctors working in civic-run public hospitals and medical colleges, who have questioned, how can they come in the category of salaries when they are only receiving stipends. The medicos are now complaining about half the sum having been deducted in the name of TDS, which is not only illogical but also bad in law.
“We didn’t get any intimation or notice about TDS (tax deducted at source). Moreover, we are now told that a similar cut would be levied next month,” said members of the Central Committee of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), at a press conference recently.
MARD also released a press statement during the press meet pointing out the following issues
- BMC has deducted TDS from the stipend of all Resident Doctors of colleges run by BMC ie KEM, Nair and Sion hospital. This tax deduction under section 192 is not logical and illegal as the stipend is taxable under section 10 of IT Act. (Doctor Rahul tugnait verses income tax officer, ITAT, Chandigarh, 2008)
- No increment in stipend even after it is supposed to be done every 3 yearly. The Increment was done in 2015-16.
- Govt/BMC is not supporting medicines and other instruments necessary for providing treatment to patients.
- Rest of the colleges of Maharashtra have still not received their regular stipend and daily allowances are still remaining from last two years.
During the press meet the MARD members said resident doctors were medical students who pay a yearly fee, and are given a stipend in lieu of the work they do in hospitals. “Resident doctors have a high risk of contracting tuberculosis from patients. Yet when we ask the administration for paid TB or maternity leave, we are told we are not entitled, as we are students,” MARD President, Dr Rajesh Katre said, adding: “Then how can our stipend be taxed?”
Resident doctors are the backbone of every teaching hospital, as they virtually work round the clock in patient-care. There are around 5,000 resident doctors across Maharashtra’s teaching hospitals, with half of these in Mumbai. Each gets a stipend of around Rs 50,000, per month.
Though the taxation drive seems to be limited to BMC colleges, MARD fears that it may soon encompass other medical institutions, as well.
MARD said resident doctors from different states had earlier, challenged taxation and won. Dr Alok Singh from KEM Hospital said the BMC had taxed them under the provisions of the Income Tax Act 1922, despite them not coming in the employed category.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Sunil Dhamane when addressed by the TOI on the issue said the decisions had been taken after deliberations. “However, if the doctors show us the previous judgments, we will study it and discuss.”
MARD meanwhile informed that letters to high-level officials in the BMC, as well as the state government, had been dispatched.