Karachi, Sindh Chief Minister on Saturday announced that Rs.2.9 billion have been earmarked in the upcoming budget 2011-12 for doctors that include 50% salary raise of house-job doctors, post-graduate doctors, rural incentives, non-practicing allowances and casualty compensation.
Divulging the details of proposed package at Sindh Chief Minister’s House, he said the special directives of President Asif Zardari resulted in the increase in wages for doctors, especially to meet the demands of Young Doctors Association for pay-raise. Provincial Chief Executive sat flanked by the Sindh Health Minister Dr. Sagheer Ahmed, Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah, Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, Secretary Health and representatives from Young Doctors Assocation during the briefing. Qaim Ali Shah said the monthly salary for house-job doctors was raised to Rs.18,000 from the previous Rs.12,000. The post-graduate doctors will now get Rs.22,000 instead of Rs.12,000. Similarly the rural incentives for doctors are also proposed that include Rs.6,000 for doctors from BS-17 to 18 while Rs.8,000 for BS-19 grade. Chief Minister said rural incentives are proposed so as to encourage doctors to perform their duties in rural areas, where they usually show reluctance to go.
Regarding the Non Practicing Allowance (NPA), he said it has been raised to Rs.4000 from Rs.400 for BS-17 and 18 doctors while Rs.6,000 from previous Rs.700 for BS-19 to 20. The provincial government has also allocated Rs.20 million in casualty compensation package for doctors for those who often become subject to physical torture, attack or specifically targeted. In addition, overtime allowances are also added of Rs.6,000 for practicing doctors. “I have approved the proposals framed by the government’s five-member committee and would be presented in the assembly after getting it approved from the provincial cabinet,” said Chief Minister. He also asked the doctors community to serve the nation without resorting to any violent approach as government also sympathized with their problems. Qaim said the comparison between the Punjab and Sindh should not be drawn as the former had more resources and population, than latter. However, he assured that Sindh would equally serve its doctors’ community in terms of provision of incentives and all possible facilities as being followed in other provinces.
Felicitating the government’s move, Provincial Health Minister Dr. Sagheer Ahmed said the long-standing issue of doctors was now virtually solved by the intervention of President Asif Ali Zardari, Provincial Chief Minister and the Governor. He, however, stressed upon the young doctors to devise a policy for post-graduate doctors for proper utilization of their services across the province. Sindh Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah said the proposal would be presented before the provincial cabinet, saying the grievances and lingering problems of doctors will now be removed. Responding to a question, Chief Minister said there were disputes in devolving some federal assets to the province, while the solution to it will be sorted out soon, he said. Qaim Ali Shah, when asked about the portfolio to be given to former Home Minister Zulfikar Mirza, hinted that Mirza would be given an assignment on his return, to the provincial cabinet, but did not name which one.