Corona warriors: UP MBBS interns get Rs 250 day, seek stipend on a par with Centre, other states

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Lucknow: While Air India announced it would fly from Kanyakumari to Kashmir to flower shower petals in respect of healthcare professionals and others fighting the corona battle from the front, over 2,000 medical interns serving at public-run medical colleges of UP are on a silent agitation.

The reason? The monthly stipend given by the Yogi Adityanath government is a meagre Rs 7,500, which comes down to Rs 250 a day. Each Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) student has to complete a year of internship at the hospital attached the medical college to complete undergrad course.

The minimum pay stipulated by the government for unskilled labourer is Rs 9,000 a month. What is more painful for them the interns working in other states and centrally-run medical colleges get double or more compared to them.

On April 27, the United Resident Doctors’ Association (URDA), a voluntary representative organisation of all resident doctors in India, wrote a letter to UP CM Yogi Adityanath, seeking his intervention into the stipend of interns. “Rs 250 a day is less than what a daily wager and unskilled labourer earns.

While Air India announced that it would fly from Kanyakumari to Kashmir to flower shower petals in respect of healthcare professionals and others fighting the corona battle from the front, over 2,000 medical interns serving at public-run medical colleges of Uttar Pradesh are on a silent agitation.

Reason: The monthly stipend given by the Yogi Adityanath government is a meagre Rs 7,500 which comes down to Rs 250 a day. Each Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) student has to complete a year of internship at the hospital attached the medical college to complete their undergrad course.

The minimum pay stipulated by the government for unskilled labourer is Rs 9,000 a month. What is more painful for them that the interns working in other States and Centrally-run medical colleges get almost double or even more compared to them.

On April 27, the United Resident Doctors’ Association (URDA), a voluntary representative organisation of all resident doctors in India, wrote a letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, seeking his urgent intervention into the stipend of interns.

“Rs 250 a day is less than what a daily wager and unskilled labourer earns. How can you justify this amount for a doctor? With this much money, I can just arrange our three meals. For hostel fee and other expenses, I have to borrow from my parents,” says Shivam Mishra, who is currently serving at paediatrics ward of King George Medical University, Lucknow.

Most medical students in the government-run medical belong to middle class and lower class whose parents often sell land or borrow money to educate them. “Instead of helping them after 4.5 years, we still demand money which pains us to the core,” says Mishra.

Interns say, “We even have to buy N95 masks from our own pocket to safeguard us from infections which costs about Rs 450 and needs to be changed after a few days.”

The interns say that the States like Bihar and Punjab offers twice the amount compared to UP, which is Rs 15,000. Haryana (Rs17,000), Himachal (Rs17,000) West Bengal (Rs16,590) Tripura (Rs18,000) also pay them respectfully.

Dr Neeraj Mishra, URDA’s UP president, says, “What is more appalling is that this stipend hasn’t been revised since past 10 years although the government employees and MLAs received hiked many times in this period. You can’t justify this meagre amount for young doctors when they have been risking their lives at the front-lines of the fight against COVID-19.”

Dr Vani Gupta, professor of physiology at King George Medical University, Uttar Pradesh, says, “The interns work 8-10 hours or even more. They surely deserve better compensation so that they can sustain on their own. We expect the authorities to take up their matter urgently, especially since the interns are contact points for all sorts of emergencies.”

The issue was recently raised by the Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi as well. She re-tweeted the appeal of United Resident Doctors Association (UP), where the resident doctors body pointed out the intern doctors in the state get the least stipend in India.

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