BENGALURU: Most of the medical graduates who received their degrees from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) on Thursday, say they would rather pay up the penalty than do the mandatory one-year rural service. The High Court has stayed the rule, mandated by the state government, but that doesn’t seem to bother them.
According to the students, studying for five-and-half years and doing one year rural service will be a long period. They also suggests that instead of making rural service mandatory after graduation, it can be made part of the one-year internship.
Dr Abhishek Pathak from R V Dental College, Bengaluru, who bagged the highest number of gold medals in BDS course, said, “Of course, the mandatory rural service does not apply for dental courses, but I feel that making it mandatory after completion of the course is not acceptable. Instead, the authorities make it a rotational internship in rural areas.”
The hefty penalty for skipping rural service does not seem to be a deterrent. Dr Deepthi Agarwal, who secured the highest number of gold medals in MBBS, said, “When they expect us to do rural service, there should be proper facilities in the areas where they depute us.”
Another student said, “I have decided to do my post-graduation and join the course this academic year itself. So I will pay the penalty as per the bond.”
As per the 2006 rural service bond which the students have to sign, the fine for MBBS doctors is `1 lakh, for P-G diploma students it is `3 lakh and for Post-Graduate students it is `25 lakh.
The government plans to revise the penalty to anywhere between `10 lakh and `25 lakh.
Experts in the field too feel that internship can be considered as rural service.
Karnataka introduced the mandatory rural service in view of the shortage of doctors across the state, mainly in rural part. The state is currently facing a shortage of about 250 doctors and 900 specialists.