Published: 20th January 2023
Chhattisgarh Junior Doctors' Association goes on indefinite strike; demand stipend hike
"Both OPDs (Outpatient Departments) and IPDs (Inpatient Departments) will remain shut," says CGJDA Vice-President
Doctors from all the government medical colleges in Chhattisgarh are staging a massive protest, asking for an increase in their stipends. On January 17, all interns, doctors and medical students wore black bands as a sign of protest and gave the government 48 hours to resolve the issue. However, on January 19, when their stipends were not increased, the Chhattisgarh Junior Doctors' Association (CGJDA) announced an indefinite strike.
The doctors have decided to boycott all emergency services until their stipends are increased. "Both OPDs (Outpatient Departments) and IPDs (Inpatient Departments) will remain shut. We understand that the patients will face difficulties but this is the only way left for us to make the government consider our demands," said Dr Gaurav Singh Parihar, Vice-President of CGJDA.
He added that the doctors' stipends have not been increased in the last four years. However, in 2019, "The Director of Medical Education had applied for an increase in the honorarium of junior doctors from the Secretary, Government of Chhattisgarh and also proposed a temporary increase in lieu of dearness allowance," states a letter drafted by CGJDA to the Director of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Hospital, Raipur, informing about the indefinite strike.
The letter further mentions that CGJDA held several correspondences and meetings with the Health Minister, Health Secretary, Finance Minister and Chief Minister for the increase in stipend after the 2019 announcement, but they bore no fruit. Additionally, the junior doctors also met the authorities of their respective medical colleges, but no solution could be found.
This is how the doctors' demands stand: The current stipend for interns is Rs 12,600. They are asking for a hike to Rs 23,872. Meanwhile, for the first, second and third-year PG Resident Doctors, the current stipends are Rs 53,550, Rs 56,700 and Rs 59,220, respectively. The students have asked these to be hiked to Rs 95,488, Rs 98,382 and Rs 1,01,274, respectively. They are also asking for a hike in the stipend of post-PG bonded doctors from Rs 55,000 to Rs 1,14,552.
CGJDA highlights that the current stipend amounts in Chhattisgarh are among the lowest in the country, compared to what doctors get in other states. "It is a matter of indifference that there has been no increase in the honorarium of junior doctors, while the government has increased the salary of every category of employees in different ways," the CGJDA letter reads. It adds that the demanded hikes are according to the national trends. Dr Parihar says, "It is high time the increment is considered."