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    Private Hospitals may soon have to pay a minimum salary of Rs 40,000 to junior doctors

    BENGALURU: Private hospitals and nursing homes in Karnataka may soon have to pay a minimum salary of Rs 40,000 to junior doctors and Rs 10,140 to nurses.

    The labour department has issued a notification seeking suggestions and objections to the proposed modification under the Karnataka Minimum Wages Act, 2016. According to the notification dated February 16, a junior doctor (allopathy, homoeopathy and ayurveda) with a degree should get Rs 40,000 and a diploma holder Rs 10,000. The minimum wage for nurses is Rs 10,140-11,180 and matrons and clinical supervisors is Rs 9,802-Rs 10,790. For laboratory technicians, X-ray operators, radiographers, pharmacists and others, the figure is between Rs 9,100 and Rs 10,010 per month.

    In the administration department, the manager should be paid Rs 10,000. Scavengers, dhobis, attendants, ward boys and some others fall under this category. The revised minimum salary covers every healthcare facility — from individual hospitals and small nursing homes to large chains.

    The recommendation comes after the Supreme Court directed the Centre to set up a committee to investigate the living conditions and salary structure of nurses employed in private hospitals and nursing homes. In a communication to the chief secretaries of all the states and Union territories on September 20, the health ministry had asked them to formulate the legislation and revert by April this year.

    Sanjiv Kumar, additional chief secretary, labour department, said the notification was issued on a recommendation by the government-appointed committee which was asked to look into the working conditions of junior doctors, nurses and medical and non-medical staff in private hospitals.

    C.Maria, a member of state nurses’ association said, “Many in the private sector take home Rs 3,000-7,000 a month. Even domestic helps get paid more. Though we are happy that the government has decided to fix the minimum wage for nurses, the amount (Rs 10,000) is not impressive. In neighbouring Kerala, the figure is Rs 20,000.”

    Even the non-medical staff is not satisfied. “Our pay and working conditions are really pathetic comapred to doctors and nurses. Immediate measures are needed to improve the conditions,” said Raveendra G, manager at a reputed private hospital.

    A senior nurse from a north Bengaluru hospital said though salaries in the private sector have improved in five years, they are nowhere close to government pay scales. “Private hospitals ask patients to shell out exorbitant amounts but give junior doctors, nurses and non-medical staff a raw deal,” she rued.

    Zone-wise division

    The government has asked private hospitals and nursing homes to pay salaries based on zonal classification – Bengaluru (zone 1), district headquarters (zone 2) and other parts of the state (zone 3). Private hospital staff in Bengaluru will get the highest salary, followed by the employees of district headquarters and others places. Nurses working in private hospitals are usually paid lesser than their counterparts in government hospitals. Moreover, the amount differs from state to state.

    Source: Economic Times

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