New Delhi, 29 November 2021 – The Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors (KARD) has announced that all elective medical professionals, including Out Patient Departments (OPDs) in all medical colleges will be on an indefinite strike across the state starting November 29.
The strike will also involve all OT (operation theatre) professionals and will only leave out emergency services. This has been announced in the state over three-point demands, which are:
- To consider the restructuring of academic fees according to the 2018-19 academic year
- Payment of COVID-19 risk allowance
- Timely payment of stipend to all postgraduates and interns
Regarding the strike, a press release by the Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors (KARD) noted, “We are left with no option but to display our dissent in this regard with a PAN-KARNATAKA indefinite strike from November 29, 2021, comprising of withdrawal of all the elective services including OPDs and Elective OTs (Excluding emergency services) in all the medical colleges affiliated with KARD.”
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What are the Reasons for KARD’s Statewide Strike?
The strike was called due to three major reasons:
1. Hike in Academic Fee: The academic fee for postgraduates was increased from INR 30,000 to INR 1,20,000. The association says this is nearly a 400% hike and requires concession. However, medical students were made to pay up the entire sum without any concession. This happened during the time of the worldwide pandemic, where families across the country were facing financial hardships.
2. No COVID-Risk Allowance: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resident doctors have been working constantly without a care for personal safety. This has led to a loss of nearly half of the course duration for most postgraduates and increased the risk of being infected with the virus. Then, the state government announced a COVID-risk allowance of INR 10,000 per month to all resident doctors in May 2021. This came as a relief for resident doctors; however, the funds for the same have not been released by the government even after 6 months of the announcement.
3. Irregular Payment of Stipend: To make matters worse, the government is not paying postgraduates and interns their monthly stipends. This is crucial for most medical professionals as it is given in return for the services they provide at government hospitals.
Strike to go on Indefinitely Until Demands are Met: KARD
Due to the above-stated reasons, KARD has announced the strike and demanded the government to reconsider the academic fee as per the 2018-19 academic year, pay up the COVID-risk allowance, and ensure regular payment of monthly stipend.
Until the government meets these demands, KARD has decided that all affiliated service professionals and resident doctors (except those who work in emergency services) will be on an indefinite strike.