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Doctors seek special package
File picture of a doctor examining a patient at a health camp

Guwahati, June 20: Medical graduates in Assam today came out with more demands, including special pay packages for serving in the rural areas and reduction in the number of seats reserved for students outside the state in post-graduate courses while welcoming Ghulam Nabi Azad’s announcement.

The Union health minister yesterday said doctors with MBBS degrees in the Northeast would get additional marks in the national post-graduate entrance test if they served in their states’ villages.

The general secretary of the Junior Doctors’ Association of Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, Mandeep Sarma Basistha, said the association appreciated the Union health minister’s effort to motivate doctors to serve in the rural areas and such initiative would go a long way in bringing about perceptible changes in the healthcare system in the villages.

He, however, said granting of additional marks was not enough.

“Most of the rural areas in Assam are inaccessible and plagued by various problems. Braving the odds, the medical graduates are offering their services there. We will be glad if the central or the state government announces a special package for junior doctors to serve the rural people,” Basistha said.

“As much stress is being laid by the central government on the development of the region, we feel that 50 per cent reservation of PG seats in the medical colleges for students outside the state should be reduced to 25 per cent for a period of 10 years. This would increase the number of specialists from this region and give a boost to healthcare of this region.”

He added students outside Assam — for whom 15 per cent seats are reserved in MBBS courses in the state medical colleges — manage to appear in the PG entrance test after becoming doctors without going to the rural areas.

“Such discrimination frustrates us. Like the local students the outsiders must also sign a bond to serve in rural areas at least for a year to make themselves eligible to appear in the PG entrance.” Basistha said. “We feel that rural service should be made compulsory for all students irrespective of their domiciliary status.”

The junior doctors of the Assam Medical College and Hospital, Dibrugarh, agreed with GMCH students.

Azad yesterday said those who will serve for one, two and three years in the villages of their states will get additional 10, 20 and 30 per cent marks respectively in the All India Post Graduate Medical Entrance Examination.

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