Bengaluru: Karnataka Undergraduate interns are facing a tough time as the stipend, a part of the MBBS internship is not being paid to them in many of the state”s private institutions.
Though the MCI regulation calls for a monthly stipend payment in both government and medical colleges, the Council has refused to take up the issue at the behest of the Indian Medical Association which has urged the council to intervene to resolve the problems of the students . The reason given by the Council for nonintervention is“monitoring payment is outside their purview and left to the State governments and respective universities of health sciences.”
Though the government is aware of non-payment of stipends, they say that the issue can only be taken up if there are specific complaints. Students are reluctant to take up cudgels with the college management for fear of antagonizing them.
Private College managements that Hindu addressed admitted to not paying a stipend to their doctors, as it ended up becoming a ‘resource burden.’
“The MCI is not insisting that we should pay. If it is made mandatory, the management will take a call,” Chandre Gowda, Principal, Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences told the daily.
According to another Principal of a reputed medical college in the city, who preferred anonymity, if a monthly stipend of Rs. 20,000 was paid, it would amount to returning of almost the entire course fee that a student pays.
However, Balakrishna Shetty, Vice-Chancellor of Sri Siddhartha Academy of Higher Education admitted to students in his college being paid the stipend, presently. “But we do not know what will happen from this year following the introduction of NEET,” he added.
Indian Medical Association in a letter dated 18th November to the Council requested the Council to intervene quoted its regulations stating “that stipend shall be payable to residents in any medical college as part of minimal standards for registration and this shall be on a par with Central and government scale.”
“It is logical as per the principle of equity that the same should be applicable for internship stipend. Whatever stipend is applicable for Central/State-owned medical colleges, should also be applicable to State private medical colleges,” the letter further added.
Urging the Council to take a favourable view in the matter, since there was a provision for stipend payments, Dr Aggarwal has in his letter mentioned a Dental Council of India directive and also referred to the Kerala High Court judgment allowing payment of stipends to interns in private medical colleges, as well.
Despite Mr. Aggarwal’s effort to bring the Council into the loop for a favourable view on stipend payments in private colleges, the President, MCI, Jayshree Mehta chose to maintain a distance on the issue, telling hindu that the matters related to stipend payments were beyond Council purview, and had to be left to the State governments and the respective universities.
“Although we have guidelines that colleges shall pay, it is not mandatory. MCI cannot monitor whether the colleges have paid and the respective State governments should look into it,” she added.
Commenting on the IMA letter, the President said that the contents would be placed before the Executive Committee for reconsideration.
“On September 26, the MCI Executive Committee that looked into a complaint from Karnataka about non-payment of stipend during internship had not approved the Academic Committee’s recommendation on the issue that stipend should be paid. Now, the issue will be placed before the EC for reconsideration,” Dr. Mehta stated.