Published: 25th December 2021
NMC bowing down to lobby of private colleges? Medical interns' demands to standardise stipends goes unheard
In some states, private colleges are paying medical interns 30% less stipend than their state-run counterparts; NMC has now allowed these colleges to fix their own stipend
The National Medical Council (NMC) is being accused of leaving medical interns at the mercy of private medical colleges, after their reluctance to standardise stipends across state-run and private medical colleges. This is reportedly allowing private colleges to pay their interns a far lower stipend than is being paid to their counterparts in government colleges, according to a report in the Times of India.
Binoy Vishwam, who is a Rajya Sabha MP from Kerala, was quoted saying that NMC's new notification that gives colleges the autonomy to fix the stipends made room for "arbitrariness" and might even lead to colleges refusing to pay any stipend at all, without any consequences. According to reports, the disparity between stipends in Kerela's private and government medical colleges is quite high, with the latter only paying between Rs 6,000-15,000, whereas the fixed stipend at state-run colleges is Rs 25,000. TOI's report says that in other states, the difference comes up to about 30 per cent.
This, however, isn't the case with postgraduate residencies, here NMC's laws mandate that the private institutions match the stipend paid by the state-run colleges. In 2017, NMC's predecessor, the Medical Council of India (MCI), had passed the buck onto the Graduate Medical Education regulations, which did not enforce a stipend for an internship at the undergraduate level. However, even as there were attempts to change these regulations and institute a mandate for private colleges to match the stipends of state-run colleges, MCI was replaced by NMC. Even though it was expected to introduce that proposed change, NMC did the exact opposite, introducing the regulation that gave the "concerned authorities" the right to fix stipends. There are now demands for the government to intervene and make amends to NMC's decision.