PG medical aspirants move Bombay high court against rural stint compulsion
A group of four students have filed a petition in the Bombay high court (HC) against the government’s decision making one-year rural bond service mandatory for aspirants of post-graduation medical courses.
The petitioners, Angad Ranadive and Parth Mulgaokar, who studied at GS Seth Medical College, Mumbai, and Shariva Ranadive and Shreyasi Tendolkar from Government Medical College, Kolhapur, said that the new rule violates a clause in the bond.
“At the time of signing the bond, the government had permitted medical and dental graduates to take the entrance test for post-graduation courses twice before doing the mandatory rural service. By suddenly changing the rule, the government is violating its own bond,” said Dr Aparna Ranadive, mother of two of the petitioners.
The decision, which came two months before National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test - Post Graduation (NEET-PG) has rendered the test inconsequential for those who are yet to complete their mandatory one-year service in rural areas.
Medical and dental graduates, post-graduates and super speciality students from government-run medical and dental colleges are required to spend a year at a state-run rural health care centre after taking the final exam. The students who don’t do so must pay a fine of Rs15 lakh, Rs50 lakh and Rs2.5 crore, respectively. The bond was introduced to mitigate the shortage of doctors at government healthcare facilities in rural areas. However, many graduates managed to evade the rural stint.
Medical students who want to pursue post-graduation and super-speciality courses comply with the rural service for all courses after finishing their academics. However, with the new government resolution (GR) in place, the students can no longer do so.
The parents had taken up the matter with government officials as well medical education minister Girish Mahajan. While the government is mooting a proposal to make an exception for those who graduated this year, the aspirants and their parents are not satisfied. “Today, the government may say one thing, and tomorrow another. We need a decision in writing,” said Ranadive.
She said the aspirants will lose a year or even more, if they are made to do rural stint before the entrance test. “The students won’t be able to prepare for NEET, if they are posted in rural hospitals. Besides, the government doesn’t have enough posts to accommodate all the doctors. So, it may take a while for them to get a posting,” she said.