NEW DELHI:With the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) facing a shortage of medical officers and specialists, a parliamentary panel has pulled up the Centre for not increasing the sanctioned intake from the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) periodically, and has recommended that it be enhanced.
The Estimates Committee, in its report tabled in Parliament, has also urged the government to look into the timely revision of manpower in the AFMS to overcome chronic shortages.
In its reply, the Ministry of Defence submitted that although the annual intake from AFMC was 130 (105 boys and 25 girls), sanction for intake of 140 existed since 1999.The ministry further said that a proposal to enhance the intake from AFMC to 150 was under consideration.“With respect to the issue of overcoming chronic shortages in AFMS, the Ministry has stated that the Government of India, MoD, after reviewing the requirement, has approved augmenting the manpower of AFMS by 10,590 in three phases,” said the ministry’s reply.
The committee was further informed that an initial allocation of an additional 557 posts for medical officers and dental officers for the Army and Air Force had been sanctioned by the government as part of the Training Drafting and Leave Reserve (TDLR), and the remaining posts in the TDLR, of 704 medical officers and 45 dental officers, would be sanctioned after these posts were filled.“It has also been intimated that in order to overcome the deficiency in AFMS, doctors are being recruited from the civil in addition to the intake from AFMC,” it added.
Retention of doctors passing out from AFMC was also a cause of concern for the committee. Students completing the MBBS programme in AFMC have to serve in the medical services of the armed forces for at least seven years, failing which bond money amounting to `25-30 lakh is forfeited. There has been a substantial increase in doctors opting to pay the bond money.
• Annual intake from Armed Forces Medical College: 130 (105 boys and 25 girls)
• Govt has approved augmenting manpower of Armed Forces Medical Services by 10,590 in three phases
• 557 posts for medical and dental officers for Army and Air Force sanctioned as part of Training Drafting and Leave Reserve
• Between 2006 and 2015, percentage of MBBS doctors passing out of AFMC and opting to pay bond money instead of serving in the armed forces increased from 6 per cent to 18 per cent