New Delhi / Mumbai: Resident doctors in government hospitals want their Non-Practising Allowance (NPA) to be merged with the basic salary. They also want the NPA to be increased to 40 percent of the basic salary.
Dr Narayan Dabas, convenor, Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), told India Medical Times, “NPA is paid to doctors as doctors start practising at the age of 30-32 while a Class I official normally starts working at the age of 23. Also, the working hours of doctors are more than any government official. So, the government started it.”
Dr Dabas further said, “Earlier, NPA was merged with the basic salary. But now in the 7th Pay Commission, the NPA has been demerged from the basic salary. So, our first demand is to merge it again with the basic salary.”
He said, “In 1922, the NPA was given as a special pay to doctors, it was not an allowance; even the Supreme Court in 2013 said that it’s a fundamental right of doctors. In 2008, there was a government order that the NPA should be considered as a pay and all the pay should be calculated on the basis of the NPA.”
“Then the second issue is how much amount this NPA has. So many committees have suggested that NPA should be minimum 30 per cent and doctors from all over India have demanded it to be 40 per cent. But the 7th Pay Commission has reduced it from 25 per cent to 20 per cent of the basic salary. So, our major two demands are to merge the NPA with the basic salary and increase it to 40% of the basic salary,” he added.
Talking about the Thursday’s strike, which witnessed the participations of resident doctors across the government hospitals in Delhi, Dr Dabas said, “The strike is for 24 hours from 9 AM, 26th May to 9AM, 27th May 2016. We have finalised an indefinite strike from 1st June, if our demands are not met.”
According to Dr Dabas, doctors’ associations from all over India are supporting FORDA. “Doctors’ associations from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka have extended their support to FORDA for the 1st June indefinite strike,” he said.
In Maharashtra, resident doctors wore black bands at work against the 7th Pay Commission’s recommendation to reduce the NPA for doctors.
“Doctors will suffer since their salary has not been hiked as promised. The hike is around 13 per cent, which should have been at least 23.75 per cent. Also, the NPA, which was essentially part of the basic salary to calculate other allowances, has been now reduced to a mere allowance only,” Dr Sagar Mundada, president, Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), told India Medical Times.
According to Dr Mundada, since the 7th Pay Commission’s recommendations will stay for 10 years, the proposed changes will have a long-term effect on doctors’ salary.
“The Javed Chaudhary (former health secretary, Government of India) Committee had proposed that the NPA should be at least 30 per cent of the basic salary. But the 7th Pay Commission has reduced it to 20 per cent from the existing 25 per cent,” Dr Mundada added.
by Pooja Pandey