Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Communications, Manoj Sinha said that the medical professionals to devote their time in rural areas to serve the poor and the needy. Addressing a meeting after releasing the Commemorative Postage Stamp on Centenary Founder’s Day of Lady Hardinge Medical College and Associated Hospitals in New Delhi, he said that doctors should take a pledge to work in rural areas for some years, before seeking posting in cities and towns.
Earlier, in 2013-14, the then UPA government had tried to make one year rural posting mandatory for MBBS graduates before seeking admission in post graduate medical courses. This had led to the nationwide outrage and protest from the MBBS graduates. Under pressure, the then Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Ghulam Nabi Azad had directed Indian Medical Council to keep the notification on hold.
At present, there is only one doctor for around 1,700 people in India, whereas the World Health Organisation (WHO) stipulates a minimum ratio of 1:1,000. Apart from shortage of doctors, unwillingness to work in rural areas is a major obstacle in boosting delivery of healthcare services.
In the wake of opposition and unwillingness to work in the rural areas, now the government is planing to incentivise students and doctors instead, for working in the villages, by making their access to postgraduate courses easier or by offering them better pay.