India needs eight lakh more "modern medicine" doctors and 1.5 million additional nurses to keep pace with growing demands in the health sector, Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss said on Wednesday.
Replying to questions on compulsory rural postings of doctors, Ramadoss said the country was facing a shortfall of medics and required eight lakh more "modern medicine" doctors besides the seven lakh already available.
Similarly, besides the one million nurses, 1.5 million more nurses were required, Ramadoss said.
He said in an effort to ensure availability of doctors in rural areas, the Centre has decided to make one-year combined rural posting of doctors a mandatory condition for those seeking post-graduation from the next academic session.
"There were a lot of protests from MPs and others when the government had suggested that MBBS degree will be provided only after medical students completed one-year compulsory rural postings. Now we have decided that from next year onwards, those seeking a PG degree will have to complete one-year rural posting," said Ramadoss.
He said the decision was endorsed by the states in the meeting of the Central Council for Health and Family Welfare last month.