“Raising retirement age for doctors is a better move by Modi government”
Dr. SS Agarwal, National President of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), provides perspective on government’s decision to extend the retirement age of doctors to 65 years in India in a chat with Sanjay K Bissoyi. Excerpts:
Q.Modi government has extended the retirement age of doctors to 65 years. It will help provide a robust health care system in the country, which is facing a huge shortage of doctors. What is your reaction after attaining the long-standing demand of IMA?
Indian Medical Association (IMA) thanks the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his kind consideration of the easy availability of nation’s healthcare delivery system to the common man and accepting the IMA’s long-drawn demand of raising the retirement age of government doctors to 65 across the country. We also thank Minister of Health and Family Welfare, J P Nadda on universal raising the retirement age of Teaching, Non-teaching, Specialists and General Medical Officers also, which will eventually help in the availability of experienced medical professionals in the public sector healthcare delivery system. The increase in retirement age will help in increasing the experienced teaching faculty in medical colleges. It will further improve the standards of medical education and also strengthen the efforts to provide universal health care to the masses. IMA welcomes it as this will help in addressing the shortage of doctors to some extent in the country especially in the rural sector. IMA would like to give some suggestions to fill the gap of doctors’ shortages in the country. Besides raising the retirement age, new appointments in the health care delivery system are also required. There should be a liberal policy to allow voluntary retirement of doctors, which would attract many young doctors to join the public sector health care delivery system. Unfortunately, the Non-Practicing Allowance has been reduced in the 7th Pay Commission proposals. The same should be kept in accordance with the provisions of the 6th Pay Commission for government doctors.
Q.Why was this demand not fulfilled by the earlier governments? Why did it take so many years?
Better late than never. Why the earlier government did not fulfil the demand is not an issue now, whatever might be the reason, we should not go through it. Modi government considered our demand and now, we should welcome it.
Q.Why does IMA not include Ayurvedic, Unani, and Homeopathy doctors in your fraternity?
It is an association for allopathic doctors all over India. Now, IMA is working on standard management protocol and in also preparing a white paper on self-regulation of doctors and allied industry. The main aim of the IMA in the current year is to work for creating trust among the government, doctors and patients. Ayurvedic doctors have their own association, so do Homeopathy and Unani doctors. We don’t oppose anyone. We work cooperatively for the betterment of the medical fraternity, but we can’t include them in our association.