In a move to curb diminishing health care services in the rural areas of the state the director of medical education and research (DMER) has for the first time made it mandatory for doctors completing their MBBS education from private medical colleges of Maharashtra under reserved categories to serve a one-year-bond in rural areas.
The DMER circular to this effect mandates the implementation of this rule from assessment year 2018-2019 in all private medical colleges in the state. Officials say failure to abide by the rules the doctors will be liable to pay the fees along with interest back to the government.
At present, this rule is applicable to all students doing their MBBS from government colleges. The DMER had decided to introduce a similar bond for students of reserved category from private medical colleges and submitted the proposal to the state government which has been approved.
In a private medical college, 50 per cent seats are reserved for categories like SC, ST and so on. The government bears their expenses and now expects the doctors passing out from these seats to give back to the society by serving the one-year bond. 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-speciality doctors. If the same is applied for reserved category students they may be penalised to the tune of Rs 50 lakh.
“In the last two decades, we never bothered about making the bond mandatory to the students of reserved category, but in the last couple of years the scenario has changed. The reserved category students earlier voluntarily went to serve in the rural parts but they have now stopped doing it,” said Dr Pravin Shingare, state director of medical education and research. “Students these days do not opt for government college seats despite securing excellent marks so that they don’t have to serve the bond. The observation of this drastic change in the last couple of years has forced us to make the bond mandatory for them.”
There are 450 MBBS reserved category seats across the state in 16 private medical colleges. The government pays the expenses for the course for the education of these students. The government at present spends around Rs 40 lakh for the MBBS degree for a single medical student belonging to the reserved category.
Dr Suchitra Nagre, trustee and director of Maharashtra Institute of Medical Education and Research, said, “We welcome the new move. The strong implementation of the rule in the system will definitely help in a long run. Super-speciality doctors don’t want to work in the rural parts and so MBBS doctors will definitely be a better option for the government in these areas.”