They came to work wearing black badges
Flagging their concerns on being among the lowest paid in the country, post graduate (PG) medical students and medical interns across the State wore black badges to work to put forward their demand to increase stipend.
Coming under the banner of Resident Doctors Association, Tamil Nadu, the interns and PGs staged a peaceful demonstration by wearing black badges to work without affecting routine services on Monday. Their main demand — to increase stipend for non-service PGs, super speciality doctors and interns, also known as CRRI (compulsory rotatory residential internship).
“Tamil Nadu is the best in healthcare. But we are the lowest paid in the country. We work hard but are underpaid. Nearly all PGs are above 25 years, and many are married. Those working in cities suffer a lot. We are not asking for more pay but pay on par with other States in the country,” M. Keerthy Varman, president of Tamil Nadu Medical Students Association.
Providing State-wise stipend details for MD/MS and DM/M.Ch, the association said that in Tamil Nadu, the doctors were paid ₹37,000, ₹39,500 and ₹42,000 a month for the first, second and third year of MD/MS respectively and ₹42,000, ₹45,500 and ₹47,000 for the three years for DM/MCh. In comparison, other States including Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh paid their doctors more. For instance, in Gujarat, MD/MS PGs were paid ₹ 84,000, ₹85,400 and ₹87,000 a month for first, second and third years respectively, they said.
“By the time a doctor completes MBBS, takes at least two years to prepare and joins PG, he/she is at least 28 years old. Many are married and have to manage household expenses. Those living in Chennai find it difficult to manage with the present stipend amount as a major portion has to be spent on paying rent for houses. When they join DM/MCh, the majority are aged between 32 and 35 years, and once again, the stipend amount is insufficient,” Maruthupandian, a PG of Madras Medical College, said.
He added that persons joining as medical officers after MBBS on contract basis were paid more. “They are paid ₹60,000 a month,” he said. They pointed out that they were continuously involved in COVID-19 duty for over a year now, and wanted equal pay for equal work.
The doctors are demanding the State government to increase the stipend to ₹70,000, ₹75,000 and ₹80,000 a month for three years for non-service MD/MS PGs, ₹80,000, ₹85,000 and ₹90,000 for non-service DM/MCh PGs and interns stipend from ₹21,200 to ₹30,000 a month. They are demanding an annual rise of stipend by 10%.
The Residents Doctors Association is also conducting a campaign on social media to garner support for their demand on stipend hike.
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