The Maharastra state’s Directorate of Health Services in an endeavour to encourage doctors to serve in remote areas has decided to grant bonus marks to medical graduates next year in their post graduate entrance tests. The quantum of marks given would depend on the type of the area they’ve served in. The classification being rural, hilly, tribal or Maoist-affected.
The Directorate of Health Services (DHS) has proposed setting up a Committee to categorize such areas. Depending upon the classification, the quantum of additional marks will be decided on, The more difficult the terrain the more the marks.
HT reports that Students will be awarded up to 30% or 400 marks of the total 1,500 marks in their Post Graduate NEET exam, according to DHS proposal.
Categorizations of remote areas will be done by a Committee, headed by Dr Prakash Doke, which shall look into both geographical location and accessibility.
“Until now, there wasn’t a proper classification of remote areas. As a result, the doctors serving in a high-risk area such as Gadchiroli would get the same bonus marks as those serving in calmer parts of the state. We have now decided to streamline the process,” Satish Pawar, Director, DHS told HT.
The Medical Council of India(MCI), in a bid to provide incentives to doctorsserving in remote areas, as part of its Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations 2000, has introduced ‘bonus’ marks for ‘eligible in-service’ doctors in admission tests for PG medical courses.
The Council in 2012 awarded discretionary powers to the state governments to award incentive marks to the in-service candidates working in the notified remote areas.
While Maharashtra has been awarding additional marks to ‘in-service’ candidates, a separate merit list was maintained by the health authorities to grant a separate 30% quota to these candidates.
However, a recent Supreme Court verdict this year had the state to quash the quota and come up with a common merit list with additional incentive marks for the ‘in-service’ candidates.
Parents and students have responded with mixed emotion to the scheme.
“The state should focus on improving conditions in rural health care facilities so that doctors don’t have to be provide incentive or force them to serve in remote parts,” said a parent to HT .
Welcoming the decision Sagar Mundada, State President, Indian Medical Association Youth Wing, said “The move will help rural hospitals. However, additional marks shouldn’t be more than five to 10% of the total marks.”