The Haryana government has decided to reduce the doctors’ salary ceiling by R10,000. The decision comes after an unwelcoming comparison with the pay scales of IAS and HCS officials. But unlike the latter, doctors in the public health sector do not avail facilities such as accommodation, vehicle, servants, etc.
Comparing the salary ceiling with that of the cabinet secretary and the chief secretary to the Haryana government, the July 6 order states, “…in the state of Haryana, the highest salary of chief secretary is R80,000. As such the ceiling of R85,000 per month (of doctors) which is beyond the maximum pay of R80,000 per month in Haryana is not justified.”
The revision has been made applicable to all doctors working in the health department, animal husbandry, diary development department, Ayush department. The order further states that doctors, who were drawing a non-practising allowance (NPA) of 25% per month, will be eligible for the same on the condition that their salary doesn’t exceed R79,000 per month, thereby reducing the ceiling.
The district’s 125 doctors, who were unhappy with this salary cap, have threatened to go on strike if the order is implemented.
“They cannot compare our salaries with the chief secretary, who is an IAS official. They get all facilities - furnished residences, servants, government vehicle with driver, free electricity and water supply and many other perks. If they want to compare, they should do it in entirety and not just salaries,” said Dr Keshav Sharma, president of the Haryana Civil Medical Services Association (HCMS), Gurgaon.
For instance, the 12-apartment residential quarters dedicated to the doctors of the Civil hospital were built more than 40 years ago and are in a dilapidated condition. “Ninety per cent of the doctors here live in their own accommodations. The living standard and facilities here are very poor. There is leakage everywhere,” said one of the senior doctors.
Moreover, the quarters can house only 12 families but today the hospital has nearly 80 doctors.
Poor facilities and low salaries have been a complete turn off for doctors, who do not want to join the state’s health department. There are about 1,200 posts lying vacant.
“In the last one year, the government had sanctioned 450 posts twice. In addition to this, 300 posts were sanctioned for the reserved categories. But hardly 50 doctors have joined,” added Sharma. The district representatives of HCMS are likely to have a statewide meeting on Sunday in Rohtak, where they will take a final call on their decision to go on a strike.