COVID service: Maha govt rewards resident doctors with Rs 1.21 lakh each, excludes graduating batch
Mumbai: Acknowledging the services of resident doctors amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maharashtra Government has recently issued a resolution announcing to give Rs 1.21 lakh to each of the resident doctors working in government, civic as well as government Ayurveda colleges.
However, the government resolution has excluded the graduating batch of residents from this reward. Despite working in the COVID wards for more than one year, the doctors after being excluded from this, are feeling short-changed, adds TOI.
The resolution, on the part of the state government, has been passed responding to the ongoing protest by the resident doctors in the past week.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that recently over 4000 resident doctors across Maharashtra had initiated an indefinite strike demanding to waive off the academic fees as a form of compensation for academic loss due to COVID-19.
The primary demands made by doctors of MARD included waiving off the academic fee, improving the conditions of the hostels, no deduction of TDS from the stipend of the resident doctors of BMC hospital and providing Covid-19 incentives to the government hospitals in Maharashtra since they have not received it yet.
PTI adds that recently, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray met representatives of the resident doctors association and assured that their demands would be addressed.
As waiving of academic fees wouldn't be a viable option the Government decided to provide the resident doctors with an allowance and soon afterward, a government resolution (GR) issued on Friday mentioned that Resident doctors in all government and civic run hospitals in Maharashtra will get Rs 1.21 lakh each for their service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to Medical Dialogues regarding the issue, Dr. Akshay Yadav, a member of Maharashtra Association of resident Doctors (MARD) said, "The process and the discussions regarding the issue of fees were going on for the last couple of months and MARD representatives have had several meetings with the government authorities. However, as the matter didn't resolve, we were forced to initiate the agitation. However, we were careful so that patient care didn't get affected."
"As the issue was still not being solved, we decided to stop emergency care and the Government took immediate steps afterward. We are all really thankful to the Chief Minister sir for giving the assurance a form of GR within such a short period of time. All the resident doctors in Maharashtra will get the amount within two phases," he added. He further informed that as most of the issues were sorted out and the rest would be solved at the local level, the strike has been called off by MARD.
As per the latest media report by the Times of India, the Government has, however, excluded the recently graduated batch from this reward even though those doctors have been working in the COVID wards ever since the pandemic began back in March 2020 to June 31, 2021- the end of residency for these doctors.
Although the graduating doctors, who have worked in the COVID wards for around 15 months, have termed such a decision to exclude them from the allowance as 'unfair', the government officials have clarified that the allowance cannot be extended to everyone due to technical limitations.
While commenting on the matter, one of the doctors who graduated from a government hospital said, "We are not resident doctors anymore, but we faced the pandemic at a time when there was fear in the society and even among our faculty members. We have worked extensively in Covid wards, many suffered from the infection, but were back on duty immediately after recovering. Our exams were postponed thrice just to ensure that there are enough doctors to work in the pandemic, but while giving an acknowledgement, we are not being considered."
Another doctor informed the daily that even though the residents at the civic-run medical colleges got an incentive of Rs 10,000 for COVID duty, a lot of residents working in the State government-run medical colleges didn't get any incentive at all.
On the other hand, due to the delay in conducting NEET-PG examination, the first-year PG students haven't joined the college yet, so they have technically not worked at all in the pandemic, adds the doctor.
Meanwhile, opining that government directives get applied prospectively and the GR has been issued after a lot of deliberations, an official told TOI, "We appreciate and are grateful for their contribution during the pandemic. We have held their work in high regard, but there are technical limitations. The directive will be effective from today and cannot be applied retrospectively."