Doctors of Indian origin living overseas who want to practice, research or teach in India can now get work permits within a fortnight.
“Overseas doctors willing to contribute to India’s healthcare can now apply online … the application will be processed within 15 days, including permission to practice from the Medical Council of India (MCI),” health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, who recently came back from a week-long trip to the US, told HT.
“The idea is to tap existing talent,” said Vardhan, who briefed PM Narendra Modi about the plan over the weekend. “PM Modi is keen to encourage skills transfer so that all parts of India get medical care at par with international levels,” said the minister.
The news was also welcomed by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI).
AAPI represents around 100,000 physicians, including medical students, working in the US. “There’s a lot of interest in working in India,” said AAPI ex-president Dr Jayesh Shah.
“AAPI has been requesting India to simplify the red tape for four years,” Shah told HT.
“We’re preparing files of every physician member on when, where, how many days and what they would like to work for in India,” Shah said. The work permits could be for a time period of a few weeks to a few years.
Looking forward, Vardhan said: “Now that we have AAPI on board, the next step is to invite Indian doctors working for or retired from the UK’s National Health Service.” In April this year, NHS recruited 50 doctors from India to fill its staffing gaps.
MCI president Jayshree Mehta informed that section 14(1) of the MCI act provides for such a step, “This way, we can get medical talent to India and provide international exposure to medical students”.
During his trip to the US, Vardhan also met the director of the Centers of Disease Control to discuss knowledge-sharing on various diseases and diagnostic tests.