TN govt doctors demand pay hike issue be resolved in last Assembly session before elections
Government doctors, who are presently wearing ‘demand badges’ to work, want their long-due demands such as pay hike, Covid solatium, recruitment of more doctors and timely promotions to be implemented
CHENNAI: With the Tamil Nadu assembly session beginning from Tuesday (February 23) expected to be the last for this term, government doctors want the issue of pay hike, which has been pending for years now, to be raised in the assembly. The doctors also urged the government to make some positive announcements.
Dr S Perumal Pillai, Executive Member, Federation of Government Doctors Association, said that the assembly session is the last resort for a solution and once it is over, the Model of Conduct may come in any time ahead of upcoming elections and the government may not consider implementing the demands.
Government doctors, who are presently wearing ‘demand badges’ to work, want their long-due demands such as pay hike, Covid solatium, recruitment of more doctors and timely promotions to be implemented.
Dr Pillai said government doctors are only demanding that the state implement the existing government order no. 354, which would provide them a pay hike.
The government order gives them a pay hike after completion of 5,9,11, and 12 years instead of the present 8,15,17, and 20 years.
Their demand is for the government to provide them a salary at the pay band 4 scale after completion of 12 years of service and not 20 years.
“The government says they have spent more than Rs 7000 crore for Covid but a pay hike for all the doctors totally in the state would just cost a budget of Rs 300 crore,” said Dr Pillai, pointing out that states like Karnataka and Haryana were giving special pay for Covid duty doctors but those in TN have not received any.
Dr Ramalingam, Convenor, FOGDA, said since government doctors come to the profession in their 30s, their career span is just about 20 years. “That’s why the Centre introduced the Dynamic Assured Career Progression (DACP) scheme for promotion opportunities in shorter intervals. Many states have implemented this but TN is yet to fully do it,” he said.
Dr Ramalingam said that the doctors held multiple protests for the past few years including hunger strikes and fasting to death but the issue has not been sorted out. “The government later told us that they would give us allowances but an allowance is secondary and pay hike is primary. It must be sorted,” he said.
Doctors said that both the state and central government doctors join the profession after MBBS with the same base salary of 56,100. However, as per the 7th pay commission, after completion of 13 years, a central government doctor earns Rs 1,23,000 while a state government doctor earns Rs 86,000.
They said that because of the lack of implementation of the government order, the state's doctors end up earning at least Rs 40,000 less than the Centre’s.