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Times of India
31 January 2011
By Sumitra Deb Roy
Mumbai, India

Should private medical college students be exempted from serving at government hospitals in rural areas? This is a question posed by medical students of state government colleges who feel private colleges enjoying government subsidies should pay back by serving the rural population.

At a discussion on Sunday between stakeholders of medical education, like heads of medical institutions, students and veterans in the profession, the issue of paucity of doctors was discussed. Many felt the shortage of medical personnel could end by making rural postings mandatory, and insisting that students of private medical colleges serve in rural and district hospitals.

Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) representatives insisted that the government should make it mandatory for students of private medical colleges to serve in rural hospitals. "They are provided subsidized land and relaxations in terms of infrastructure," said Dr Anil Dudhbhate of MARD. "At least some can serve in rural hospitals," he added.

The doctors demanded the government make rural posting mandatory. An undergraduate in a government college has to pay Rs 5 lakh, post–graduate Rs 20 lakh and those doing super–specialized courses Rs 2 crore for not serving in public hospitals for a year.

"The shortcoming of keeping the payment option is that rich students pay up and leave, while the economically feeble have to serve in rural areas," said Dr Pankaj Nalawade, president, central MARD.

Dr W B Tayade, director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research, said students in government colleges pay Rs 18,000 per annum, while those in private colleges pay in lakhs.

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