Students of different medical colleges on Wednesday skipped classes and sat on dharna in support of a nationwide strike against the one-year rural posting norm.
The institutes included Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS), Patna Medical College, Nalanda Medical College and others. The students have decided to skip class for two more days. However, AIIMS-Patna medics didn’t join the strike.
At IGIMS, around 300 students sat on dharna, while 600 medics skipped classes at Patna Medical College. Five hundred MBBS students went on strike at Nalanda Medical College and also took out a protest march in the evening.
Rajeev Ranjan, a final-year IGIMS student, said: “At present, the MBBS course duration is four-and-a-half years, after which one has to undergo a one-year internship. If the Union government’s decision is implemented, a student would be eligible for post-graduation (PG) course after investing seven-and-a-half years, as not only he/she would have to complete the MBBS course but would have to do a two-year internship instead of one year, followed by a yearlong rural posting.”
Rahul Kumar, a third-year student of IGIMS, said: “The total vacancy in primary health centres across India is around 28,000. So how will the Union government provide employment to 45,000 doctors in the rural areas who are passing out each year?”
Even though students bunked classes, authorities concerned seemed reluctant to punish them.
Patna Medical College principal Dr N.P. Yadav said: “We didn’t receive any information from students about their strike. I got to know they skipped classes only after reaching college. I would ask the professor in-charge of the students’ section on whether he received any prior information about the dharna or not. We are not going to take any stern action against the students for skipping classes. They would be marked absent in the attendance register for missing classes.”
Dr Mahendra Kumar, the IGIMS dean, said: “Students of my college didn’t bunk classes. They staged a dharna only after their classes were over. Why should we punish them?”
The state chapter of the Indian Medical Association, however, supported the move of the students. “MCI has made a joke of medical education. It is conducting new experiments everyday, which could affect the future of medicos and also endanger public health. Can the Union government guarantee job to medicos in rural areas? said Dr Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, president, state chapter of Indian Medical Association.