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Additional pay eludes doctors

Senior doctors at state-run Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi are not receiving their non-practising allowance for a year now.

All medical practitioners are entitled to receive an additional 25 per cent of their basic pay as a reward for skipping private practice. The amount is paid to the doctors so that they devote more time to the hospital under whose payroll they are.

But in RIMS, professors, including the associate and assistant ones, besides other senior medicos had last received their non-practising allowance in December 2012. In contrast, the junior doctors continue to draw their share.

The authorities have failed to come up with any valid explanation over this disparity and reasons for non-payment of the additional benefits to one section of the RIMS staff.

When asked, RIMS director Tulsi Mahto said that he was trying his level best to sort out the issue.

“I am myself pursuing the case with the government. All the doctors should get their non-practising allowance. Though we did not discuss the issue in details at the governing body meeting yesterday (Tuesday), we arrived at a unanimous decision that a guideline needs to be framed so that the government releases the allowance under a separate head.”

Sources acknowledged that it was indeed former principal secretary K. Vidyasagar’s objection on release of non-practising allowance from the government aid granted to RIMS that led to its discontinuation for the senior staff.

As a result, around 300 doctors are being deprived of their original pay package that gives them the much-required financial security to not run a private clinic or nursing home or for the matter, attend to patients at pharmaceutical shops.

A section of the “deprived” doctors, unwilling to be named, said the top bureaucrat’s decision was, however, applied only on them, but not on the post graduate (junior) doctors because the latter resorted to strikes and gheraoed administrative officials at will.

“Since we do not take the protest path, the government is taking advantage of our diligence,” a senior doctor said.

Is non-payment of the allowance affecting their performance?

Anup Kumar, associate professor, radiology, said: “We have joined this noble profession to serve people. The non-payment of allowance does not affect our commitment towards the patients, but yes it definitely affects us mentally.”

Kumar added that they were entitled to receive salary on a par with AIIMS but they never got it.

“It is very depressing. Being doctors does not mean, we do not have any responsibilities towards our families. The allowance was definitely a driving force behind not practising outside,” Kumar added.

Assistant professor, anaesthesiology, Shanti Prakash also expressed his discontent over the government’s apathy towards them.

“Every month while receiving the salary, we are needed to certify that we do not practice outside RIMS. Why should we do it when we are not getting the non-practising allowance?”