Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved on Tuesday a proposal of the Union health ministry to increase the age of retirement of all government doctors to 65 years.
The order, which is effective from May 31, 2016, will affect both central and state government hospitals.
“The President is pleased to enhance the age of superannuation of the specialists of non-teaching and public health sub-cadres of Central Health Service and general duty medical officers of CHS to 65 years with immediate effect,” read the order.
The PM had announced the move at a rally in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, on May 26.
According to a health ministry source, the move will enable the government to retain experienced doctors for a longer period, and to provide better services in its public health facilities, particularly to the poorest, who are entirely dependent on state-run facilities.
Health minister JP Nadda said: “This step will empower the government to strengthen the healthcare sector in the country. It will help in providing additional doctors in the health pool of the country.”
“This will strengthen the efforts of the ministry in conceptualising and rolling out various people-oriented schemes, which l need the services of doctors in implementing them,” he added.
While most doctors hailed the decision, a section of specialists believed it was a regressive move.
“Like engineers, even doctors will now start moving out of the country in large numbers. By increasing the age of retirement of doctors, one senior doctor will eat jobs of at least three young doctors,” said a resident doctor at one of Delhi’s government-run hospitals. He wished to remain unnamed.
“If seniors do not retire, how will juniors get a chance to move ahead. This move will affect the careers of young doctors adversely,” the doctor said.