No action by NMC on paltry stipend for house surgeons at private medical colleges
The issue stems from the NMC’s vague guidelines on Compulsory Rotating Internship Regulations, which grant the power to fix stipends to the college management.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The failure of the National Medical Council (NMC), the governing body responsible for regulating medical education, to address the issue of extremely low stipends for MBBS interns in private medical colleges has caused considerable concern. Despite the commencement of a new batch of house surgeons in July, there has been no improvement in the stipend amounts they receive.
In response to a complaint filed by a medical student from Kozhikode, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) ordered the NMC to conduct a nationwide survey to investigate the disparity in stipend payments.
The NMC conducted the survey in May but has yet to provide an action-taken report, even though the NHRC requested it within eight weeks. This delay has led health activist Dr Babu K V to question the NMC’s commitment to safeguarding the interests of the students.
“The medical council / NMC had three opportunities to ensure uniform stipend for MBBS interns. First was in January 2019 when they issued notification for Compulsory Rotating Internship Regulations, later when it was gazetted in November 2023 and the last when NHRC intervened.
They acted in favour of private medical college managements on earlier two occasions and now also seems to be dragging the issue,” said Dr Babu, who has been following the issue since 2017.
The issue stems from the NMC’s vague guidelines on Compulsory Rotating Internship Regulations, which grant the power to fix stipends to the college management. This has resulted in significant disparities in stipend amounts among different colleges, leaving students at the mercy of their respective institutions.
“The disparity in stipends given at various colleges shows the arbitrariness in which they handle the issue. Most of the time the students suffer in silence. We were hoping for an early resolution of the issue after the survey,” said a representative of the Medical Students Network, the student unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
NMC received over 28,000 responses due to the vigorous campaigning by MSN. However, the situation has not changed even when the new batch of MBBS students started their house surgency in July.
The stipend amounts for MBBS interns in private medical colleges vary greatly, with the respective colleges’ fee fixing authority having the final say under the Compulsory Rotating Internship Regulations, 2021. Stipends, which are essential for students during their one-year house surgency period, range from as low as Rs 1,500 (after deductions) to Rs 13,000 in most private colleges.