In a major relief for resident doctors, post-graduate students, and house surgeons in Karnataka, the state government has increased their monthly stipend. Demanding a higher stipend, the doctors had worn black bands around their arms during work, as a sign of protest.
"The stipend for interns was hiked to ₹30,000. For PG students of 1-3 years, we have hiked it to ₹40,000, ₹45,000 and ₹50,000 respectively. We have also hiked the stipends for doctors doing their super-speciality," Medical Education Minister Dr Sudhakar told reporters.
In addition, while super-speciality doctors with an experience of one year will be paid ₹60,000, those with two and three years of experience will be paid ₹65,000 and ₹70,000 respectively.
While the interns are being paid ₹20,000, PG students in their first, second and third years are paid ₹30,000, ₹35,000 and ₹40,000 respectively until now.
The stipends were last revised in 2015 even as the course fees were increased five-fold sans any warning in 2019, putting tremendous financial pressure on them.
The doctors complained that they are being paid lower than those in the same role in other states. While the stipend in Karnataka is ₹35,000 per month, it is ₹90,000 in Delhi, ₹80,000 in Chandigarh, and ₹60,000 in MP, the doctors said.
"We are frontline workers. Now, during this crisis, we are with patients for six hours. Even during other times, it is we who work in out-patient departments, emergency, and other departments and yet we are paid so low," a doctor at the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute had told The New Indian Express.
Meanwhile, medical interns at JJM College complained that as many as 133 postgraduate doctors and 97 interns have not been paid stipends in the last 15 months since they joined their colleagues in 2018, reported The News Minute.