Covid-19 crisis: Maharashtra doctors face salary cuts, cry foul
Mumbai: While the doctors are risking their lives working day and night to provide assistance in the nation's COVID19 response and being hailed as heroes by many at the same time; the announced pay cut is leading a financial turmoil affecting their morale after such rigorous efforts.
Medical Dialogues had been reporting about similar issues reported from some of the other states than Maharashtra where the doctors are facing such stipend cuts and subsequently they have either gotten relief or are still fighting to have the authorities intervention.
In the present case, as per the decision of the Maharashtra state authorities, the government will be deducting a certain percentage of the salary paid to doctors in the state health service, medical education department and students doing their residentship every month. The deduction will apparently continue until meeting the serious financial crisis the state has been facing due to coronavirus epidemic. According to a recent media report, in some cases, it is as much as 50 per cent. The residents employed in the service of BMC hospitals have also got salary cuts.
This decision has been termed to be unacceptable by the doctors as this is affecting their morale to work as well as hindering their daily lives. The doctors' association had been highlighting the efforts the doctors have been putting to battle the virus outbreak despite putting in more hours, working with utmost dedication and honesty, feeling stressed and tired in the discomforts of the Personal Protective Equipment.
Talking to Mirror about the issue, the Jarmansingh Padvi, president of Maharashtra Association of Gazetted Medical Officers in northern Maharashtra said, "I have spent nearly 20 years in the health department and have been working with dedication. For the month of March, I got a 50 per cent pay cut, and I am yet to get April's salary. I get a monthly salary of Rs 1.3 lakh. On one side, we are on the frontline of the battle against coronavirus and on other, we are getting lesser pay. This is unacceptable."
Padvi said the doctors do not have time to confront the department or the government on the issue.
"With the pandemic getting worse by the day, our touring has increased. The nursing union has taken up the issue more aggressively,'' he said.
Rahul Wagh, president of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) in Mumbai, informed Mirror that doctors in the city have also got a 30 to 40 per cent pay cut. He said the association had taken up the matter with the Medical Education Director, TP Lahane, who said that he was trying his level best to redress doctors' grievances.
He said things like salary cuts will certainly demoralise the doctors who are risking their lives by treating Covid-19 patients.
Their pleas are apparently not being heard of. "We have made representations to the government, but everyone there seems to be busy," he added.
Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) Manoj Saunik said that all employees of all departments got cuts in salaries from March onwards.