Center unlikely to intervene to end ‘alleged’ disparity in stipend payments for medical interns: Mansukh Mandaviya

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said so in response to a letter from Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said so in response to a letter from Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam.

The Union government is unlikely to intervene to end the “alleged” disparity in the payment of stipends to medical students at public and private medical schools across the country.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said so in response to a letter from Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam on March 11. The Union Department of Health and Family had on January 21 sought comments from the National Medical Commission (NMC) on the stipend for MBBS interns at public and private medical schools after Mr Viswam wrote to Mr. Mandaviya in December last year.

“The Commission has advised the Ministry that, in accordance with Section 3(a) of the National Medical Commission (Compulsory Rotating Medical Internship) Regulations 2021, all interns will receive a stipend as determined by the competent authority applicable to the institution/university or state.” The Minister also stated that the Center only provides stipend payment to interns undertaking a mandatory rotating internship in hospitals/medical institutions under its administrative control, which is reviewed every two years with the approval of the Department spending. The latest revision was made on July 7, 2021. MBBS trainees now receive a monthly stipend of ₹26,300 from January 1, 2020, the minister added.

In his letter, Mr. Viswam had highlighted the lack of parity in stipends given to MBBS trainees at private/reputable universities and those enrolled at public colleges. He pointed out that the above-mentioned provision of the NMC’s regulations on compulsory rotating internship led to “ambiguity and arbitrariness in the allocation of allowances”. It could also cause private college managements to deny the allowance to MBBS trainees as they have complete discretion without any safeguard mechanism. Mr Viswam had claimed that the ramifications of this were being seen in colleges across the country, as there had been disparities in the amounts of stipend paid at government medical schools compared to those in the private sector.

This response is important as the recently issued guidelines by the NMC for the enrollment of foreign medical graduates aimed to ensure that their stipend and other facilities were equivalent to those of Indian medical graduates trained in government medical colleges. Public health professionals have pointed out that while this magnanimity is a welcome step as an insurance for students returning from Ukraine, similar sentiments are not shown towards those studying at private medical schools.


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Elaine R. Knight