The government of Assam has recruited at least 800 doctors into the service on the condition that they will perform at least 12 months of rural service.
Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the letters of appointment were issued on Wednesday and that many more doctors would be recruited on a similar basis. "On appointment, they have to serve the first year in rural areas. That is the least they can do for the people and the government, which spends so much to train a doctor," Sarma said.
If a doctor opts out of the rural service condition, he/she will be fined 700,000 rupees. The Maharashtra government tried to implement a similar scheme, but failed to carry it out properly.
The health minister also said retired doctors were also eligible to serve provided they agreed to go to rural areas for the first 12 months, "Anybody with a medical degree can just walk in for an interview and get a job. We still have 234 vacancies across the state and all these recruits will be posted to rural health centres," he added.