A statewide strike on Monday has been called for by the Interns and Postgraduates Association of Tamil Nadu to send out a message that they need a hike in the stipend offered by the state government. The medicos are severely underpaid in the current pay scale of the Tamil Nadu government. On Monday they will stay away from work.
Dr S Anbarasan, a student at the Madras Medical College who is at the forefront of the strike, said, “PG students get between Rs 27,100 and Rs 29,100 depending on their year of study, compared to the Rs 90,559 the central government students get. The tuition fee at several central government colleges is one-tenth of that of state colleges. While Kerala pays up to Rs 45,000, other states pay between Rs 48,000 and Rs 60,000.”
Director of Medical Education Dr A Edwin Joe told TNM, “We agree that Tamil Nadu PG students have low stipend when compared to other states of India. We also sympathise with them. We are trying to get a higher stipend for them.”
On actions taken by the department so far, he said, “We have sent our recommendations to the government and it is with the finance department. Hopefully, in two days there will be an announcement regarding the increased stipend.”
Dr Edwin added, “We are telling the students that we are with you. We are asking them to call off the strike because courts are not in favour of doctors going on a strike for any purposes. It is our duty to redress their genuine grievances and we are doing that.”
Dr G. R. Raveendranath, Secretary of Doctors Association for Social Equality (DASE), told TNM, “The increase for the stipend is a genuine demand and the Tamil Nadu government should take up the matter in all its seriousness.”