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Health minister assures doctors to look into their grievances

New Delhi: Union Health Minister J P Nadda on Saturday met the representatives of the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) and discussed the reasons for doctors’ strike on May 26.

Union Health Minister J P Nadda met the representatives of the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) in New Delhi on May 29, 2016.
Union Health Minister J P Nadda met the representatives (From Left to Right: Dr Ravinder Chauhan, Dr Balvinder Singh, Dr Pankaj Solanki, Dr Mohit Garg, Dr Durgashankar Meena) of the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) in New Delhi on May 29, 2016.

“We were surprised that the health minister was not informed much on the matter,” Dr Narayan Dabas, convenor, FORDA, told India Medical Times. “The health minister asked us about our demands. The first thing we briefed him about was the discriminatory recommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission. The minister assured us to look into the matter.”

Dr Dabas said, “We did remind the health minister about the Javed A Chowdhury (former health secretary, Government of India) Committee, whose recommendations were accepted and implemented except that the NPA (non-practising allowance) of doctors should be at least 30 per cent of their basic salary. We also explained to the health minister about how the NPA, with a history of 94 years, has been de-linked from our basic pay.”

According to Dr Dabas, the health minister agreed about the need for the Indian Medical Service (IMS). The minister was also informed about how more than 25 percent of doctors’ jobs are lying vacant.

“We also told him how the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) never releases a waiting list and despite the vacancies, doctors are not made to join. The health minister assured us to resolve it very soon. We also discussed about the need for increasing the postgraduate seats in medical colleges,” said Dr Dabas.

He further said, “The health minister was also informed about all the other demands of doctors like hazard pay, learning resources allowance, night shift allowance, and extra duty allowance.”

The minister is expected to discuss these issues with the health secretary and the cabinet secretary on Tuesday, according to Dr Dabas.

When asked about the proposed 1st June strike of doctors, Dr Dabas said, “We will discuss these latest developments and assess the situation once again by sitting together. We are still very much pro for strike, still opinions are invited from doctors.”

by Pooja Pandey

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