No Response from Govt, Uttarakhand MBBS interns resort to Strike once again
Dehradun: Getting no response from the Government, around 330 medical interns from 3 Government Medical Colleges in Uttarakhand have resorted to strike once again. These interns include students from Doon Medical College, Dr Susheela Tiwari Government Medical College and Hospital, Haldwani, and interns from VCSG Medical College, Srinagar.
Protesting against the situation where the MBBS interns in Uttarakhand get the lowest stipend (Rs. 7,500) in the country, they are seeking an immediate increase in their stipends and have given a call for "One Nation, One Stipend".
Recently, the Indian Medical Association Junior Doctors' Network (IMA-JDN) Uttarakhand branch along with the Medical Students Network (MSN) Uttarakhand jointly wrote to the Directorate General of Medical Education (DGME) and Health Secretary seeking an increase in their stipends.
"Uttarakhand is hill state with limited facilities in rural areas where Government expects these interns to put hard labour for the service of the needy and poor people of the state. We expect stipend should be at par with that of central Government Norms hence we propose the stipend of the interns in Uttarakhand should be given a positive thought and be increased to a minimum of Rs 23,500 Rupees only per month. This would ensure more encouragement and zeal to work by these doctors and shall ensure a smoother control of COVID pandemic in the proposed third wave and so on," read the joint statement by IMA-JDN and MSN.
A couple of days ago, the issue was raised by the almost 300 intern doctors of Doon Medical College, Srinagar, and Dr Susheela Tiwari Government Medical College and Hospital, Haldwani, who called the stipend of Rs 250 per day too less and meagre and held candle march to draw government's attention-seeking to hike the stipend, that was revised last in the year 2011 and increased from Rs 2,500 to Rs 7,500 per month.
In Uttar Pradesh, the medical interns get Rs 12500 per month, in Tamil Nadu and in Telangana, it is Rs 20000, Haryana and Himachal pay Rs 17000 while medical interns in All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi get Rs 28000 per month as stipend, whereas, medical interns in Uttarakhand just get Rs 7,500 per month.
However, the situation didn't resolve and Medical Dialogues had reported that coming down on Uttarakhand MBBS interns protesting against the meagre stipend of Rs 250 per day, that is far less than minimum wages, the Hemwanti Nandan Bahuguna Government Medical College, Srinagar served notices to 25 medical interns on disciplinary grounds.
Now, the students have given a call for an indefinite strike once again and pictures of students from Doon Medical College, VCSG medical college holding placards of "Where is Our Stipend?", "One Nation, One Stipend", and "We want Justice" started circulating on the social media platforms.
Meanwhile, speaking to Medical Dialogues regarding the matter, Dr Shulabh Kuriyal from IMA-JDN Uttarakhand said, "Previously raising our demands we had held a candle march, we also wrote to the Government. However, we haven't received any response till now and so all the medical interns from across 3 Government medical colleges have gone on strike."
"Earlier, we were making sure that patients do not suffer so only 50% of us had been absent from work. We gave them 10-days time to respond to our grievances. Getting no response at all, we have taken this decision," he said.
Commenting on the issue, Dr, Shulabh said, "We interns have to do everything, from attending patients to all the other kinds of works. What do we get in exchange? We don't even get time to eat and sleep and still we don't get enough stipend."
"We are risking our lives here, attending the COVID patients and everything. With this stipend we can't even afford a room in Dehradoon. All we expect is that our salary becomes reasonable so that we don't have to depend on our families for money," he mentioned adding that many families of the doctors have already expired due to the pandemic.
Reminding that the other interns across the country are getting a far better stipend, he asked, "What is the different job they are doing? We all have the same degree and we do the same work. So we just want One Nation, One Stipend. In fact, considering the COVID times, the caseloads are really high in the medical colleges in Uttarakhand. People from far away areas also come to these hospitals seeking medical help. We are not being unreasonable here, we just want our salaries to become on par with other interns across the country."
Commenting on the issue, Dr Mohit Seth, MSN State convener said, "Our stipend hasn't increased for the last 10 years. Right now, we are receiving 7,500. We have now requested the Government to increase the stipend at least to 23,500 and on par with other states. We also wrote a letter to the Government and we are still waiting for their response."