Many pitfalls of rural service clause

Neither vacancies nor suitable posts for PG medical students

 Lack of necessary infrastructure in government colleges in rural areas is driving postgraduate (PG) medical students, who have completed their degree or diploma in government medical colleges or in private colleges under government quota, away from rural service.

Another major issue is that there are no jobs that suit the qualifications of these students.  

Despite signing an undertaking to serve for three years in government service, while taking up the concessional medical PG seats, the students are not happy with the government job offers. The government hospitals do not have the facilities for these PG doctors who have expertise in some specialised field.

The Bond Enforcement Cell has started issuing demand notices to PG students who have violated the agreements, asking them to pay a penalty of Rs five lakh. As many as 1,604 show-cause notices have been issued to both undergraduate (UG) and PG medical students who have neither paid the penalty amount nor have taken up rural service.

A PG medical student who completed a super-speciality course in a private medical college under government quota was offered work as a tutor in a government medical college as there was no vacancy suited to his qualification in government hospitals.

The student refused the offer and took up job in a private hospital. He says he was offered a job which did not require his expertise.

“By the time I complete three years of service, which is on contract, I would have forgotten whatever I learnt in the super-speciality course. Though I wish to serve the government, the maximum salary I would get is Rs 35,000 per month, which is much less than what I would get in a private hospital,” the student said.

He said though he got a concessional government seat, for which the subsidy is 30 per cent of the fee amount, he still had to take a loan to pay the other 70 per cent. With the meagre salary, he will not be able to pay his Equated Monthly Instalments for the loan taken.

Dr Geetha Nyamagouder, director of the Health and Family Welfare department, agreed that there is a problem with the present set-up of allotting government services to PG medical students.

“It is not just the super-speciality courses like Radiotherapy. There is also lack of vacancies in Pharmacy, Forensic Medicine, Biochemistry, Physiology and Anatomy. Despite a bond being in place, there are no appropriate vacancies for medical students who are willing to do government service. We are looking into the matter,” she said.

Since 2008, out of 1,954 medical students, only 35 students have taken up rural services, 95 students have paid penalty and 105 have gone for higher studies.

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