Medical interns on Covid duty in Bihar demand insurance cover, stipend hike
Doctors on internship and post graduate (PG) students, including those under the three-year residency scheme in state-run medical colleges of Bihar, have demanded insurance cover and indemnity, similar to the one provided by the state government for its employees on Covid-19 duty, besides hike in their stipend.
The medicos also gave the government a seven-day ultimatum, failing which they may take “hard decisions”.
The Bihar government had on July 27 announced that dependents of employees, who die in line of Covid-19 duty, will be offered either a government job or special family pension equivalent to the amount of the last drawn salary for the remaining period of the employee’s service till the time of superannuation, after which they will get normal family pension.
The medicos have now demanded that all interns and PG students, including ad-hoc, regular, junior and senior PG residents, across all government-run medical colleges in Bihar, be also included under this cover.
The demand was sent on Wednesday to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar under the banner of the Bihar chapter of the United Resident & Doctors’ Association India (URDAI). Besides medicos of the nine state-run medical colleges, the forum also includes medicos of the AIIMS and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS), both in Patna.
URDAI-Bihar president Dr Vinay Kumar held that the life of an intern or a resident had the same value as any other permanent employee.
“If such benefits are not extended to them, they may be removed from Covid-19 duty. The duties for care of Covid-19 patients should be restricted to those who are covered under insurance and indemnity schemes of the state government,” said Dr Kumar.
“We also want the government to provide a free treatment facility to frontline corona warriors if they get infected in the course of duty,” he added.
Dr Kumar, in a separate letter to the director, AIIMS-Patna, under the banner of the Resident Doctors Association, said the earlier insurance scheme — Rs 50 lakh to the next of kin in event of death of healthcare workers involved in Covid care — announced by the Prime Minister, had expired in June, this year.
“As of today, there is no information on the extension of the scheme. The AIIMS-Patna has not provided any insurance security cover to its resident doctors at the local administrative level,” he added, citing the Bihar government’s order for its employees.
Dr Kumar demanded that the same benefit should be extended to the resident doctors of AIIMS-Patna as well since they were serving the people of Bihar. The letter said that beneficiaries should include ad hoc, regular, junior, senior as well as PG residents and MBBS interns of the institute. The resident doctors may be compelled to take “hard decisions” after seven days if their interests were overlooked, the letter said.
The URDAI also demanded a revision in stipend of MBBS interns as well as PG students.
The association is demanding a revision from Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 in monthly MBBS internship, which is of one-year. Similarly, it is demanding Rs 80,000 in first year, Rs 85,000 in second year and Rs 90,000 during the three-year PG curriculum. At present, they get Rs 50,000, Rs 55,000 and Rs 60,000 in the first, second and third year, respectively. Their stipend was last revised four years back.
They are also demanding Rs 1,05,000, Rs 1,10,000 and Rs 1,15,000 for senior residents in the first, second and third year, respectively.
Bihar has around 950 MBBS interns, 600 PG students, 300 senior residents and 250 (approx) junior residents across its medical colleges, excluding those at AIIMS and IGIMS.