85 per cent MBBS graduates avoided rural service in Gujarat in two years
Nearly 85 per cent of MBBS graduates in Gujarat opted out of serving in rural area after passing out from government-aided medical colleges in the last two years, the Assembly was told on Tuesday.
Service in rural area is mandatory for MBBS graduates, and those who opt out are liable to pay a hefty fine of Rs 20 lakh.
Responding to questions by Congress MLAs during Question Hour, Health Minister Nitin Patel said 2,228 MBBS graduates were posted in different parts of the state during 2018 and 2019.
But only 321 joined the service, he informed.
The government recovered Rs 7.21 crore as fine from some of these doctors for breaching the bond signed at the time of admission. However, Rs 62.07 crore were yet to be recovered from others who opted out, Patel said.
The mandatory government service rule is not applicable to students of colleges which do not receive government aid or those who get admission through the all India quota.
Patel told the Assembly that the government has started attaching and selling off the properties of doctors who do not pay the fine.
“This is a long-standing issue. In 1972, the penalty was Rs 5,000 if a doctor refused to serve in rural area for two years. Now the penalty is Rs 20 lakh and doctors are required to serve for one year in rural area. Despite this, we are still unable to get doctors for rural areas,” said Patel.
MBBS students in government colleges pay only Rs 6,000 towards fees for a course which costs the government Rs 25 lakh, the health minister said.
On the suggestion by Congress MLAs that degrees be withheld until students complete the mandatory service, Patel said the government does not have such powers.