August 10, 2007

Rural service compulsory for doctors

The Kerala Government has decided to impose one-year Compulsory Rural Service (CRS) on students passing the MBBS/ Medical PG degree/DNB or Diploma from Government-run Medical Colleges.

It will be mandatory for those students also who secure admission for medical PG/DNB or Diploma courses under Government quota in self-financing and cooperative medical colleges.

The doctors will be given a monthly pay of Rs.15,000 with an additional Rs.5,000 for those serving in difficult rural areas. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting convened by Health Secretary Vishwas Mehta here on Tuesday.

The Government has also decided that it will send advisory to the State Public Service Commission to debar candidates who have not fulfilled the CRS obligation, from seeking employment in either State or Central Government service. Doctors will not be considered eligible to appear for any higher examination unless they have completed one-year CRS.

The diploma students, however, need do rural service of only six months this year. From next year onwards, this will be for a year.

The Government has also made it clear that it may enforce the regulation of the Medical Council of India, which says that action be taken against a physician posted in a rural area, if he is found to be absent on more than two occasions during inspection by Health Department authorities.

Legal action and cancellation of registration will also be considered against those doctors who fail to fulfil the bonded obligation to serve in rural areas, the Government has warned.

The decision to cut short the CRS for medical PG students from two years to one year has been welcomed by the Junior Doctors’ Forum, which had been actively campaigning for this.

The bonded obligation on PG doctors to work for two years for the Government on a monthly pay of Rs.15,000 had met with stiff resistance.

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