NEW DELHI: In order to deal with the shortage of specialist doctors in state-run hospitals and medical establishments, the UP government has announced that post-graduate medical students in the state must complete at least 10 years in the government sector upon completion of their studies. Failing to do so will result in a fine of Rs 1 crore.

The announcement was made by Principal Secretary (Health), UP, Amit Mohan Prasad. According to Prasad, if PG medical students in the state drop out of government job before completing 10 years, they will be fined Rs 1 crore and they will also be debarred from the course for the next three years.

The decision was applicable to those students who were pursuing post-graduation course in state medical colleges.

UP Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh told The Sunday Guardian: “The government spends money on the curriculum of the students. Earlier, there was a tendency that after completing studies, they will not come back to work here. Since 2017, this tendency has changed. Now they are working here and nobody has expressed any objection to this. There are over 8,000 vacancies right now. If they work for 10 years after completing their studies, it will improve the quality of health facilities.”

According to the UP government, over 15,000 posts have been created for doctors in state-run hospitals across the state and as many as 11,000 MBBS doctors are currently occupying these posts. Meanwhile, MBBS doctors employed in a rural government hospital for at least a year will get concessions in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) PG examinations. Similarly, those with two years of experience in a rural government hospital will get a 20-point rebate in the NEET examinations, while those with three years of experience will get a rebate of 30 points.

Dr Rajnish Raj, state President, Indian Medical Association-Medical Students Network, UP, told The Sunday Guardian: “It is only for those students who got admission via Provincial Medical Health Services (PMHS) quota to fulfil these regulations. If we talk about medical education, in several states, the fees have been increased by 30-40%. The situation is getting worse for MBBS students. Students who come from lower economic backgrounds will suffer much more. I agree that improvement is needed in providing health facilities in rural areas; why they aren’t providing infrastructure and equipment? How will the posted doctor work there without proper infrastructure and machinery? If the doctors are not able to provide care and treatment, then what is the point? Several states are actually providing these facilities to the appointed doctors in rural regions. Also, the government needs to increase PG seats. The PG seats are comparatively very less than MBBS seats.”

However, several doctors have also applauded this move. “A person becomes a doctor so that he or she can serve the society irrespective of the conditions. Students after completing their course want to go to big cities. But if everyone goes to big cities, who will take care of people living in small towns and rural areas? This move will provide the care and treatment they deserve. They can’t afford to go to big cities like Delhi for treatment,” a resident doctor of a government hospital said requesting anonymity.

In 2018, the Uttar Pradesh government had introduced two years Compulsory Rural Service Bond also in medical courses. As per the guidelines, MBBS/BDS students must fill a designated bond of Rs 10 lakh, MD/MS students Rs 40 lakh, PG Diploma/MDS students Rs 20 Lakh, and DM/MCh students Rs 1 crore, in case any medical student acts contrary to the bond, as per reports.