Government doctors, who had submitted their resignations last month demanding higher wages and incentives suitable to their job, called off their proposed agitation on Wednesday after Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa agreed to meet their demands.
Addressing presspersons after chairing a high-level meeting with health officials and representatives from the Karnataka Government Medical Officers’ Association (KGMOA), the Chief Minister said the incentives that had been announced early this month would be increased suitably as demanded by the doctors.
While granting a monthly rural allowance of Rs. 7,000 to those working in rural areas, the Chief Minister said a postgraduate diploma allowance of Rs. 6,000 would be given to diploma holders and a postgraduate degree allowance of Rs. 8,000 for master degree holders.
Those who had worked in rural areas at least for six years before getting posted to urban areas will get a raise of Rs. 5,000 and all doctors would get an emergency allowance of Rs. 3,000, the Chief Minister said.
This meant the salaries of doctors would in effect increase from Rs 3,000 (for a doctor working in an urban area) to Rs 18,000 (for specialists working in rural areas). The doctors demand for time-bound promotions and regularisation of services of contract doctors too had been considered, the Chief Minster said.
Welcoming the decision, KGMOA president H.N. Ravindra said: “This is a heartening development but we are not happy. We have some more demands to be met and we will take it up with the Government in the next financial year. We gave in because of floods in the State and the resultant financial situation of the State.”
Pointing out that the pay disparity with their colleagues in the Medical Education Department still existed, Dr. Ravindra said: “Our resignation letters will be cancelled after these decisions are approved in the next Cabinet.”
The new incentives had failed to enthuse doctors working in urban areas. They were upset because there was disparity between their allowances and those of their rural counterparts.
Sources in the association said some members had expressed their displeasure at the executive committee meeting held after the Chief Minister’s decision was announced. The members pointed out that a specialist working in an urban area, who had put in 25 years of service would get the same allowance as that of a fresher appointed in a rural hospital.
Association secretary G. Srinivas said the association had decided to donate the new allowances for three months from October to the Chief Ministers’ Relief Fund for flood relief measures.
“This contribution amounts to Rs. 15 crore. We have donated a day’s salary of all the 4,199 doctors, amounting to Rs. 40 lakh early this month,” he added.