Maharashtra: The growing disinclination shown by doctors to serve the rural belt had earlier led the state to introduce a bond in which an MBBS student from a government college had to give an undertaking to the government saying that “after completing his/her course, he/she would work for the public health or medical education department for a year failing which an amount would be paid to the state”.
The Director of Medical Education and Research, Maharashtra has recently decided to introduce a similar contract for private medical college students of reserved category. Faltering on these rules will cost students a fine of Rs 50 lakh.
There is 50% seat reservation in private medical colleges for categories like SC, ST, and others. “We bear their expenses and so, we expect them to give back to the society by serving this one-year bond. We have submitted the proposal to the state government and it is expected to get accepted and the order will be issued in a month” said Dr Pravin Shingare, State, Director Medical Education and Research, Maharashtra
The fees for these students amounts to Rs 6-10 lakh per year. Costs of 800 medical students of the reserved category are borne by the government in the state’s 21 government and 16 private medical colleges.
The bond penalty at a government medical college is Rs 10 lakh for an MBBS student, Rs 50 lakh for post-graduates and Rs 2 crore for super-specialty doctors.
The reserved category students will now be penalized to the tune of Rs 50 lakhs, as well, if the penalty proposed for the reserved category is cleared.
Dr Shingare said, “Students, who get admitted to a government medical college on a merit basis, serve the bond. So, there is no reason for reserved category students to oppose it. The rule will not be applicable for private medical college students, who are not from the reserved category. This will lead to change in a current situation, where there is a dearth of doctors in rural areas.”
Dr Suchitra Nagre, Trustee and Director, Maharashtra Institute of Medical Education and Research, said, “We welcome the move. The government is bearing the expenses of these students, and if they expect them to pay back to the society for one year, there is nothing bad in it. I hope students will take this positively. The government will be paying them a stipend, so it should not be a problem.”
Dr Nagre, further added that this proposal would lead to a strengthening of health services in rural areas, which are in need of health facilitators. “Several of the students are from rural parts, but they get attracted to cities and aim to work in urban areas,” she told the Pune Mirror.