Haryana recently increased the MBBS fees at government medical colleges to retain medical students work in state hospitals. The government has linked a compulsory bond of Rs 10 lakh per year to a loan affidavit system. The state government has promised to pay the loan of the student if he/she continues to offer services at the government hospital for at least seven years.
Criticising the decision, medical students in Haryana question the implementation of the move. “The government assures to pay the loan of the students only if they serve in the state hospitals for seven years. While their policy binds the students to work in government hospitals, there is no job assurance by them. There are limited Primary Health Centre (PHC) and Community Health Centers (CHC) which in turn offer inadequate opportunities to graduates,” says Sonia Rohilla, MBBS student, PGIMS, Rohtak, Haryana.
Calling on the need for better infrastructure facilities at government hospitals, Dr S K Chatterjee, former chief medical officer, Indian Telephone Industries and former medical superintendent, JDM Hospital Naraina Delhi says, “Basic facilities available in PHC and sub-divisional Health Centres are grossly inadequate and often rated poor to render adequate services as per actual requirements. Even basic life-saving drugs and amenities such as equipment and staff are lacking in these hospitals. The young doctors, therefore, are not keen on joining the government hospitals.”
There is a need to create appropriate infrastructure before introducing strong legislative measures such as a surety bond to avoid discontent among students, says Dr Chatterjee.
“As of 21 May 2020, there are 542 medical colleges and 64 standalone PG Institutes in India. There are abundant opportunities of employment in the government sector, however, the bitter truth is that many graduates and postgraduates of medical profession do not report back to joining the assignment given by the central or state health department,” says Dr Khursheed Ahmed Ansari, Dean Students’ Welfare (DSW) and associate professor, School of Unani Medical Education and Research, Jamia Hamdard.
Citing the example of Rajasthan, he says an RTI filed in 2018 revealed that 40% of the candidates selected in government hospitals did not join the duties. Some students may have refrained from the job due to further research. However, there is an urgent need to improve the incentives and perks offered at the state hospitals to attract the graduates.