Armed Forces Medical College docs may have to pay up to Rs 2 crore to quit military
At present, doctors who quit after a post-graduate course are asked to furnish Rs 28 lakh and those who leave the armed forces after an undergraduate course have to pay Rs 25 lakh for their release.india Updated: Mar 26, 2018 07:08 IST
A parliamentary panel has said that doctors who want to quit the military after being trained at the Pune-based Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) should pay an exit bond of up to Rs 2 crore, officials familiar with the matter said.
This suggested move is a bid to arrest the trend of students choosing not to serve as doctors in the military after completing their education, the officials added.
At present, doctors who quit after a post-graduate course are asked to furnish Rs 28 lakh and those who leave the armed forces after an undergraduate course have to pay Rs 25 lakh for their release.
The panel, which looks at the defence ministry’s functioning, has asked that the exit bond money be increased to Rs 2 crore and Rs 1 crore respectively.
Students trained at the prestigious 56-year-old institute are required to serve as military doctors for at least 14 years (short-service commission) or at least 20 years (permanent commission) after graduating. The type of commission they get depends on the vacancies available.
The defence ministry had told the panel that 20% of AFMC students quit every year for different reasons, one of the officials cited above said.
The college inducts 130 students every year for the MBBS course and between 80 and 100 doctors pursue various PG courses at any given time, said a senior army doctor who asked not to be named.
Some of the reasons for quitting include the “desire to pursue PG immediately after MBBS”, “family migrating abroad”, “practice set up for them by parents”, “not getting a service of choice”, “not getting permanent commission”, and “stagnation in AFMS (armed forces medical services)”, the doctor added.
“Hiking bond money is being thought about. But if we are too stringent, there’s a chance of losing out on the best talent,” said a top official who is part of the AFMC’s functioning.
This argument was also made by ministry representatives before the panel: if the “deterrence” is made too high, top students may not join AFMC. But officials said that the panel rejected this, saying that India has a high population and there is no shortage of talent vying for such courses.
“The bond money needs to be increased. Frankly, even Rs 2 crore is not a big amount, considering the quality of training students get at the AFMC,” said Lieutenant General SD Duhan (retd), a former commandant of the Army’s Research and Referral (R&R) Hospital and a former AFMC professor.
“Being a doctor in the armed forces requires selfless dedication. The moment monetary consideration comes into play and students opt to leave for greener pastures, it (serving as a military doctor) loses its relevance,” Duhan added.
The parliamentary panel has asked the government to share its views on raising the bond amount to lower the percentage of students quitting from 20 to at least 10, an official said.