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‘Surgical pruning’ of YDA demands

June 21, 2012

LAHORE, June 20: The representatives of the agitating doctors agreed on Wednesday to ‘rationalise’ demands after a dialogue with the health authorities and came up with revised proposed package of total incentives amounting to Rs33 billion.

Earlier, the demanded budget for the proposed service structure for all cadres of the doctors was said to be much higher.

The revised demands for the service structure were finalised in the first meeting of a three-member committee constituted by the Punjab government on Monday under the supervision of Deputy Secretary (budget) Sarfraz Ahmed. Two other members -- Dr Mudasar Razaq Khan from Young Doctors Association and Dr Izhar Ahmad Chaudhry from the Pakistan Medical Association (Lahore) -- were also present.

An insider said on the reservations of Sarfraz Ahmed, the YDA and the PMA representatives dropped from the list of their demands an incentive of Rs6 billion under the head of “official cars for senior doctors” besides some other allowances.

He said the doctors had demanded that all BPS 20 doctors (from all four cadres) should be given 1000 CC cars with driver and petrol and 1300 CC for all BPS 21 doctors with driver and petrol. They also demanded official telephone facility with allowances for all doctors in BPS 20 and above.

They later agreed to ‘almost’ withdraw another important demand of the agitating doctors, that is, risk allowance with a total financial impact of Rs9.6 billion. They reduced the said incentive to Rs330 million only.

After detailed discussions the committee finalised some financial calculations under the head of one-grade up-gradation, Health Professional Allowance (HPA) and teaching allowance.

According to the revised package, Rs1 billion should be allocated under the head of one-grade up-gradation, Rs5 billion for HPA and Rs200 million for teaching allowance.

About HPA, the insider said, the representatives of the agitating doctors had asked the deputy secretary (budget) to fix Rs25,000 as HPA for the doctors in grade 18 and HPA equal to hundred per cent running basic for the grade 19, 20 and 21.

“We have given a message to the government through deputy secretary budget that the strike will be called off

only after acceptance of their demands revised under the head of one-grade up-gradation, teaching allowance and HPA in Wednesday’s meeting of the committee,” Dr Mudasar told Dawn. He said the YDA and the PMA had set aside a major portion of the service structure for the time being and just demanded incentives of Rs6 billion under the aforementioned heads out of the total proposed Rs33 billion. “We have also agreed to get the reset of the proposed financial incentives in phases in the next five years to facilitate the government owing to financial crisis,” he said. Now the doctors had thrown ball in the court of the Punjab government, Dr Mudasar said. He further said the representatives of the PMA, the YDA and the Medical Teachers Association Punjab also reviewed the revised financial allocations in a separate meeting and endorsed the decision of Wednesday’s meeting of the three-member committee.