Stipend Issue: Over 150 MBBS interns stage protest, suspend OPD services in Punjab
Amritsar: Aggrieved over low monthly stipend for the past ten years, more than 150 medical students and interns staged a protest at Government Medical College (GMC), Amritsar and suspended classes and work at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital (GNDH). The protesting medicos shouted slogans and held banners and placards, demanding an increase in the monthly stipend of Rs 9000 to at least Rs 18000.
The protest was held under the banner of the Medical Student Association on February 3 2020 (Monday) at around 11 in the morning. Resultantly, the OPD services were affected.
The stipend amount was last revised in 2002 and the students were paid Rs 9000 while then annual fee for the course was Rs 13000. However, even today the stipend amount has not been increased from Rs 9000 despite an increase in the fee, which is presently around Rs 80000.
Last year, the medicos had initiated a protest regarding the issue. However, the protest was called off after the Medical Education Minister, OP Soni had assured that the stipend would be increased within two months. However, the demands were not materialised within the promised time. Consequently, medical students once again took to protest to get their demands fulfilled.
Taking a view of the fact, that an increased amount of fee is charged from the students yet no increase in the stipend is witnessed from Punjab Government, the association president Vaibhav Chawla elaborated how the stipend paid to the medicos was the least when compared to other institutions in North India.
As per Chawla, the MBBS interns in Haryana pays Rs 52,070 as fees for the first year and they receive a stipend of Rs Rs 17,000. Similarly, interns in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir were getting a stipend of Rs 15000 and Rs 12000 respectively while they pay Rs Rs 60,000 and Rs Rs 26,250 as first-year fees. Moreover, the interns at Central Government institutes were getting a stipend of Rs 23,500 and their fee for the first year is around Rs 8,000 only. However, in Punjab, the first year MBBS fee was around Rs 80000 and the stipend paid was merely Rs 9000, Chawla told The Tribune.
The medicos further told the daily that after four and a half years of studying they were getting Rs 300 per day which was even less than the wages of an unskilled daily wager.