Paying heed to the long-standing demand of the resident doctors from College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPS), the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has increased their stipend to Rs54,000 from Rs15,000 for next three months (or the duration of Covid hardship). These doctors had been working long hours in COVID facilities and being paid a pittance even while they were putting their lives on line.
The order issued on 4 May 2021 by Dr Pradeep Jadhav, in-charge chief medical superintendent and head of the department at secondary health care services says, "The municipal commissioner has granted permission to pay Rs54,000 stipend to CPS resident doctors working in COVID hospitals during 1st March to 31 May 2021 at suburban hospitals."
Orthopaedic resident Dr Prashant Salve, who is also president of Cooper Association of Resident Doctors (CARD), says, "We have been working 24x7 in BMC's COVID hospitals since last one year. However, we are being paid just Rs15,000 stipend. In fact, after deduction of tax deducted at source (TDS), we were receiving just Rs13,500 as stipend. This new order will give us increased stipend of Rs54,000, which is at par with post-graduate doctors working on other hospitals.
Municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal was extremely prompt in accepting the need to enhance the stipend during COVID as were key ministers of the state government. Maharashtra, especially Mumbai has been very proactive in ensuring fair payments for doctors, but for various reasons this group had remained out of the loop.
Earlier, the BMC had increased stipend to Rs50,000 for freshers MBBS doing internship at their hospitals. CPS resident doctors, however, continued to be paid Rs15,000. They have been demanding an increase in stipend and had even cited examples of resident doctors from other government owned hospitals, who were paid more than Rs50,000.
Dr Salve and CARD have been raising the demand to increase their stipend with several officials and political leaders.
According to a report by The Free Press Journal,
resident doctors of CPS, who are on COVID duty, were being paid less than those studying similar courses, including doctor of medicine (MD), master of surgery (MS), and diplomate in national board (DNB). Moreover, the BMC had hiked the stipend for fresh MBBS graduates doing internship to Rs50,000 from Rs6,000, the report had said.
Dr Avinash Saknure, resident doctor in anaesthesiology at Sion hospital, says, "This step will definitely increase the morale and will strengthen the working residents mentally and economically."