Medical practitioners in Tamil Nadu struck work today to protest against the Union Health Ministry's proposal to make one year's rural service compulsory for medical graduates passing out from 2008-09.
Through this, the Ministry aims to extend quality healthcare to the villages.
Medical practitioners of Coimbatore Medical College went on a 24-hour strike to protest against the plan.
"The Central Government ruling of Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss for compulsory one year rural internship by those who are graduating in 2007 will make the course of five-and-a-half years to six-and-a-half. We will not be given permanent jobs after that," Gopal Chawla, a medical student, said.
"Every year, 30,000 doctors will be affected by this. And those 30,000 doctors will be replaced by new 30,000 doctors. Where will those 30,000 doctors go?" asked Chawla.
The students have threatened to extend the strike to other medical institutions, if the Central Government did not withdraw the order.
"If the Government fails to listen to us, then we as a union will stay together. Not just Tamil Nadu, but the whole of India will stand together and put our thoughts forward," said Nupur, another medical student.
Ramadoss has said that medical graduates passing out of colleges from 2008-09 will have to compulsorily opt for government service in rural areas for one year to be eligible for registration certificates for private practice.
As part of rural service, the students would be given postings after their internship at district and sub-district levels for which they would be paid stipends, he said.
The rule would apply uniformly to all the 262 government and private medical colleges in the country that turn out 29,000 graduates every year, Ramadoss said.