Rural Service made compulsory in Maharastra

Doctors and medicos studying in medical colleges in Maharastra will now have to do a compulsory rural service. Rural service certificate by DMER is made compulsory for permanent registration in Maharastra Medical Council (MMC).

 

Doctors in Maharashtra will now have to complete a rural stint to  get a certificate from the directorate of medical education and research (DMER) and only then will they get a permanent registration number to practice.

Since most doctors avoid going to rural areas and don’t even pay the fine, the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) has come up with this new rule. Apart from giving registration numbers to allopathists, the MMC, a statutory body, has the power to cancel a doctor’s registration if he/she is found guilty of malpractice.

At present, doctors get their permanent registration numbers after completing an internship. While joining medical courses (MBBS/PG/diploma) in state and civic-run medical colleges, students have to sign a bond saying they will serve in rural areas for a year after completing MBBS or pay Rs20 lakh. For PG/diploma doctors have to pay Rs50 lakh to “avoid” doing a rural stint. But all doctors on rural posting are given Rs25-30,000 a month.

rural service

 

The government started the bond system in 1998. For the first batch, which graduated after five years in 2002-03, the fine was Rs1 lakh. It has been raised to Rs20 lakh over the past decade.

“Now, the new rule will ensure doctors cannot bypass a rural stint. Without a DMER certificate, we will not issue registration numbers, without which doctors cannot practice,” Dr Shivkumar Utture, MMC member, said. The other option is to pay the fine, which doctors rarely do.

There are 18 medical colleges in the state. The student strength for MBBS is 2,600; for MD it is 1,200; for diploma 350; and for super speciality 40.

Dr Mansingh Pawar, joint director, DMER, said: “We took this decision to implement the bond system properly and in the process ensure doctors do a rural stint. A medical student pays about Rs52,000 a year as fees. The government, on the other hand, spends Rs6 lakh per student in a year.” The DMER believes it’s the duty of students, who get subsidised education, to serve the society before taking up private practice.

Via DNA, Image courtesy The Hindu

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