Ensure uniform stipend to medical interns: MP

Great disparity in payment in private, govt. medical colleges

Updated - December 19, 2021 06:25 pm IST

Published - December 19, 2021 06:24 pm IST - Kozhikode

Binoy Viswam, Rajya Sabha MP, has urged Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya to ensure equity in payment of internship to medical students in private and government medical colleges across the country.

In a letter to the Minister, Mr. Viswam said that the National Medical Commission’s Draft Regulations on Compulsory Rotating Internship, 2021, issued on April 21 and gazetted on November 18, had said that all interns shall be paid stipend “as fixed by the appropriate fee fixation authority as applicable to the institution/university/State.”

Ambiguity

“The phrasing of this provision allowed for great ambiguity and arbitrariness. It may also result in management of private colleges denying stipend to the interns as they have complete discretion without any safeguarding mechanism. The ramifications of the same are already being seen in colleges across the country as great variance exists in stipend amounts being paid in government colleges as opposed to private colleges,” he pointed out.

A right, not charity

Mr. Viswam said that medical profession was an extremely strenuous and highly specialised field that required individuals to dedicate their lives in the service of others. “As part of medical professionals’ education and training, they are necessitated to undertake internships across various settings. In this context, a stipend is paid as a matter of right and not charity. It is therefore essential that parity and equity be maintained across all medical institutions, whether run by private bodies or by the government,” he said.

The MP requested the Minister to consult with all stakeholders, including State governments, medical college managements, medical professionals, and students to formulate a policy that ensures equity among medical students. A uniform stipend to all interns would ensure that, he added.

The erstwhile Medical Council of India had come up with a public notice on January 25, 2019, on Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 1997. The Board of Governors that superseded the MCI was considering a provision that said “All the candidates pursuing compulsory rotating internship at the institution from which MBBS course was completed, shall be paid stipend on par with the stipend being paid to the interns of the State government medical institution/Central government medical institution in the State/Union Territory where the institution is located.” However, it was not gazetted until the Board was dissolved.

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