Just Rs 2,000 as stipend: Bengaluru MS Ramaiah Dental College students launch strike

Final year students at the MS Ramaiah Dental College in Bengaluru have demanded a hike in payment, which they sought to be retroactively reimbursed for the entire year.
Students of the MS Ramaiah Dental College launch a protest.
Students of the MS Ramaiah Dental College launch a protest.
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Final year students at the MS Ramaiah Dental College in Bengaluru launched an indefinite strike on Tuesday, July 2, demanding higher stipends. The students expressed frustration over working eight hours a day for a monthly stipend of Rs 2,000 and have demanded a hike in payment, which they sought to be retroactively reimbursed for the entire year. 

Speaking to TNM, All India Students Association (AISA) member Aratrika said the stipend amount has remained unchanged for the past ten years and that students have been asking for a hike since they joined in August last year. In contrast, she pointed out, “MBBS students in the college and even the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) students in other colleges receive a monthly payment of Rs 15,000 or 18,000.”

Speaking on behalf of the students protesting on the campus, an intern said, “We pay an annual fee of Rs 8 lakh, and they should increase the stipend by at least 10%- 15% every year in accordance with the amount of fees we are paying, but that’s not happening here.” The student also alleged that their stipend would get deducted if they took a holiday, in addition to which they were expected to work an extra day without pay as compensation.

“The medical college faculty who work as doctors have received two pay raises in just a year, from Rs 4,000 to Rs 10,000 and then to Rs 18,000. But we are working for the same amount of time and received no increment,” she added.

Another student intern at the protest questioned how the paltry stipend of Rs 2,000 would sustain them in a city like Bengaluru, where the living expenses were high. The student further pointed out that everyday necessities such as food, travel, and metro expenses significantly exceed this stipend, making it exceedingly challenging for them to make ends meet.

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