The Centre has taken a major step towards ensuring the availability of doctors in rural areas - it has made one-year combined rural posting mandatory for all doctors seeking a post-graduation in India. The new ruling is applicable to students from the next academic session onwards.
"There were a lot of protests from MPs and others when the government had suggested that MBBS degree will be provided only after medical students completed one-year compulsory rural postings. Now we have decided that from next year onwards, those seeking a PG degree will have to complete one-year rural posting," said Union Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss on Wednesday.
The decision was endorsed by the states in the meeting of the Central Council for Health and Family Welfare last month said Ramadoss.
During the rural posting, doctors will be posted to primary health centres, community health centres (at taluka level) and district headquarters for four months each and get a monthly stipend of Rs 10,000 per month.
Ramadoss said the Centre was ready to partly fund the creation of infrastructure, including accommodation facilities for doctors who are deployed in rural areas.
Yerran Naidu (TDP) said as most of the MBBS doctors go abroad, very few of them will be available for rural postings.
The Minister said 12,000 of the health facilities in the country have been made available "24x7" and as per international experts, the health sector in the country has seen a remarkable improvement.
Ramadoss informed that the country needed 800,000 more "modern medicine" doctors and 1.5 million additional nurses to meet the growing demands in the health sector.
There are 700,000 medicine doctors available in the country.
Ramadoss, replying to questions on compulsory rural postings of doctors, said the country was facing a shortfall of medics and required eight lakh more "modern medicine" doctors besides the seven lakh already available. Similarly, besides the one million nurses, 1.5 million more nurses were required.