Revise Academic Fees, Give Timely Stipend: Karnataka Resident Doctors call for indefinite strike
Bengaluru: Demanding immediate release of the COVID-19 risk allowance and a revision in the academic fee structure for PG medical courses in Government medical colleges of Karnataka, the doctors under the umbrella of Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors (KARD) have initiated a state wide agitation. Although they have ensured that the emergency services are not being hampered,...
Bengaluru: Demanding immediate release of the COVID-19 risk allowance and a revision in the academic fee structure for PG medical courses in Government medical colleges of Karnataka, the doctors under the umbrella of Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors (KARD) have initiated a state wide agitation.
Although they have ensured that the emergency services are not being hampered, the doctors have started boycotting OPD and elective services urging Government to respond to their demands at the earliest.
Apart from the two demands mentioned earlier, the doctors have also mentioned "timely payment of stipend to post graduates and interns" as one of their demands in the Press Release.
"As you are aware of the fact that during Covid 19 pandemic, we resident doctors have relentlessly and incessantly worked day in and day out towards the management of this dreadful pandemic, compromising all our academics against the risk of being infected under total adverse conditions. As a result postgraduates have lost half of the course duration without learning the bare minimum of clinical and other skills. You are aware of the fact that in May 2021, government of Karnataka announced covid allowance of 10,000 per month starting from the month of April to all resident doctors. It's been more than 6 months since the day of announcement, yet the funds have not been released by the government. This shows the blatant disregard towards the doctors serving in the frontlines even today," mentioned the statement.
"Our academic fees was hiked from 30,000 to 1,20,000 which was nearly 400% hike. To make matters worse during these troubling times we have been made to pay up the entire sum without any concession. The issue was taken up in form of innumerable symbolic protests, letters submitted to the concerned authorities on a number of occasions. A protest organized pan-state level gave no fruitful result," the doctors further pointed out.
"In view of all the above matter, resident doctors of MMCRI took a step forward and taken the lead in carrying out indefinite strike from 9th of November by boycotting all the elective duties without hindering any of the emergency services. Based on assurance given by Minister of medical education for the issue to be resolved within 10 days of time, the strike was put on-hold. It is unfortunate to note that the assurance given by Minister of medical education has not been fulfilled. The intent to address the issue is clearly not visible as resident doctors were excluded from the package of Covid-Risk allowance announced recently by Government of Karnataka," stated KARD.
Mentioning that they would be boycotting OPD services, KARD further stated, "We are left with no option but to display our dissent in this regard with a PAN-KARNATAKA indefinite strike from November 29, 2021, comprising of withdrawal of all the elective services including OPDs and Elective OTs (Excluding emergency services) in all the medical colleges affiliated with KARD. We wish our grievances will be addressed at the earliest to prevent further escalation of the same."
While commenting on the matter, Dr. Tejas, President of KARD told Medical Dialogues, "Our first demand is regarding the COVID allowance. Although Government had promised us paying the allowance back in May, till now we haven't even got a penny. We also organized symbolic protest, wrote to the Government regarding the matter, but our voices are not being heard. Another of our demands is regarding the academic fees, which was hiked from 23,000 to 1,29,000. We have been requesting the Government for reducing the fees and making it like it was earlier. Coming from middle and lower class backgrounds, it becomes difficult for us to pay such an amount even when we are studying in Government institutes. Since two years we are writing to the government regarding this issue."
Further adding that their strike is also in solidarity with the doctors protesting all over India demanding escalation of NEET PG counseling process, Dr Tejas added, "We have also expressed our solidarity regarding the pan-India strike that is happening with a demand for expedition in the NEET PG counseling process. In our college also, there should be three batches of PG students, whereas there are only two batches. This is putting us under immense stress."
"For now we are boycotting OPD services and elective services. However, emergency services are not being hampered," he clarified.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that KARD had previously submitted memorandums to their respective college deans demanding a waiver of their fees for the academic year 2021-22 and a refund for the fees paid during 2020-2021.
Mentioning that they are suffering from a lack of expertise in their chosen fields of Post-graduation due to nil clinical exposure amidst the pandemic, the doctors were demanding to delist the medical colleges in the State from COVID duties.