Rural service made mandatory for medical graduates

Rural service made mandatory for medical graduates

Medical graduates of all colleges will henceforth mandatorily have to do rural service for an year in the state. This service rule applies to all quotas of medical seats including NRI and management quotas in medical colleges.

The rural service rule has become more stringent with the President of India giving assent to the Karnataka Compulsory Service Training by Candidates Completed Medical Courses Bill, 2012, making one year rural service compulsory for medical doctors in the State.

Giving the details of the Act, Minister of State for Medical Education Sharan Prakash Patil on Wednesday said the government would take steps to give effect to the new legislation at the earliest.

Health Minister U T Khader, who welcomed the Act, said the law would come into effect retrospectively. However, he did not specify the year from which it would come into force.

Patil said that implementation of the new law would help the government to solve the problem of shortage of doctors, especially specialists, in the government hospitals in rural areas. About 5,000 undergraduates and postgraduates pass out every year in the State. One year compulsory rural service will ensure that all primary health centres and district hospitals have enough doctors, he added.

As per the provisions of the Act, all MBBS, PG diploma, PG and superspeciality doctors should serve in rural areas for a year. The government will pay a monthly stipend for their service. Serving in rural areas for one year will make them eligible for permanent registration under the Karnataka Medical Registration Act, 1961, or the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956. “Those who refuse to do rural service will not get their degree certificate. Besides, penalty will be imposed on them,” the minister said.

However, the minister said the government will have the power to relax the rules and allow the doctors to obtain their degree certificates without the rural service. If a MBBS doctor wants to pursue a postgraduate course in the State, she/he need not do rural service. But the student has to do the rural service after the completion of PG course, he added.

The then government had in 2006 introduced a bond system wherein a student taking a medical seat under the government quota was made to give an undertaking saying that she/he will serve in rural area for one year or pay a penalty of Rs one lakh. The bond system was introduced under the Karnataka Selection of Candidates for Admission to Government Seats in Professional Educational Institutions Rules, 2006.

But a majority of the students chose to pay penalty instead of serving in rural areas. In 2012, the penalty amount was revised substantially but for no avail.

Hence, the then government decided to enact a separate legislation for making rural service mandatory. Unlike the bond system, compulsory rural service applies to all quotas of medical seats, including NRI and management quotas.

Dr Patil said the S K Saidapur Committee on fee monitoring and regulation has received 110 complaints. The government will announce the seat matrix for admission to medical courses in two or three days. The Medical Council of India (MCI) has increased the undergraduate medical seats in four government colleges in Ballari (from 150 to 200 seats), Hubballi (100 to 150), Mysuru (100 to 150) and Bengaluru (150 to 250 seats).

Besides, Dr Patil said the MCI has accorded recognition to the new medical colleges in Gadag, Koppal and Kalaburagi.

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