Sunday, July 14, 2013

Rural stint to become must for medicos

Rural stint to become must for medicos

MANGALORE: The state government intends to close the 'penalty' route for medical students who wish to skip rural service.

Hopeful of getting the President's nod for Karnataka Compulsory Service Training by Candidates Completed Medical Course Bill, 2012, which will then make one-year rural service mandatory, the government will then utilize their services to improve the status of health delivery in government healthcare centres across the state.

The bill has already passed scrutiny of the Union ministry of health and family welfare and has been vetted by the ministry of human resources development before it was sent to the President for his assent. Once an Act, students at under-graduate and post-graduate level will have to undergo one-year rural service before becoming eligible to receive their respective medical degrees, minister for health and family welfare UT Khader said during the meet the press programme organized by Dakshina Kannada District Working Journalists' Association on Saturday.

At present, students have the option of paying a penalty in lieu of rural service. While a MBBS graduate at present needs to pay Rs 1 lakh, post-graduate diploma holders pay Rs 3 lakh and post-graduate students Rs 5 lakh. The state faces shortage of 350 graduate doctors, and 1,400 post-graduate actors, he said.

Opining that cream of doctors that the state has had in the past have come through rigors of rural service, he said this mindset is gradually declining among students. "The state collected Rs 9 crore as penalty from students who opted out of rural service last year," Khader said.

The government will take a call on making rural service compulsorily for overseas students, especially those studying in deemed universities in the state, at a later date, he said.

If the bill for some reason does not get the presidential nod, the state government will then hike the penalty from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh for MBBS students, from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 15 lakh for PG diploma holders and from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 20 for PGs, he said. "In many places, we find there is good infrastructure, but no doctors and the converse is also true in other places," he said, adding the government will roll out the red carpet to recruit doctors.

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