Mumbai First, there was the delay in paying salaries of resident doctors, the frontline warriors in the corona war; and, now, to make matters worse, the BMC has imposed a 10 per cent TDS (tax deducted at source) on their already measly salaries, by categorising these healthcare workers as vendors.

Notably, The Free Press Journal was the first newspaper to highlight the plight of resident doctors. According to the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), this overnight imposition of TDS is illegal, as they are students and not supposed to be taxed.

They claim that the civic body did not inform them of this move. Apart from constituting 80 per cent of the Covid fighting force, resident doctors are the backbone of every teaching hospital, as they virtually work round-the-clock in-patient care.

There are around 5,500 resident doctors in Maharashtra’s teaching hospitals, with half of these in Mumbai. Each gets a stipend of around Rs 54,000 per month. Notably, they are also paying one lakh rupees as education fees. “We are still students and not even qualified for I-T deductions.

The BMC is charging us a fee and presenting us as employees on paper, so that they can deduct TDS. Had we been informed about the policy change, we would have made investments,” said a resident doctor.

A member of the MARD said when they asked the BMC about it, their queries went unheard. “Last month, I received my salary with a 10% cut and when I asked, they said similar deductions had been made in everyone's salaries,” said Dr Vishal Rakh, senior medical officer, Nair Hospital.

Dr Ramesh Bharmal, medical director of civic-run hospitals, said there has been a delay in salary payment, as resident doctors have to do vendor registration following which pay is directly credited to respective accounts.

“Once vendor registration is done, all resident doctors will get their salaries,” he said. “We will talk to the concerned dept about the issue of the 10% deduction, as they are the ones on the frontline, helping patients and senior doctors in this Covid situation,” Dr Bharmal said.

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