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Stir against rural duty

More than 700 undergraduate medical students of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi walked over 2km from their cradle in Bariatu to the Indian Medical Association (IMA) office in Morabadi on Wednesday to protest against the Union health ministry’s decision to make a year’s rural stint compulsory for medicos aspiring to join a postgraduate (PG) course.

The Centre has decided to introduce the norm from the 2014-15 academic session.

Armed with placards, the budding doctors said the government should make this rural internship compulsory after they complete their PG course and not before that.

At present, the duration of the MBBS course is 4.5 years after which one has to undergo a year’s internship. If the Centre’s proposal is passed, a student would be eligible for a PG course after 6.5 years.

Poonam, who is pursuing her MBBS internship at RIMS said, “We are not opposing to another year in rural areas but the request is to make it compulsory after completion of our PG studies.”

Another student Sandip voiced a more impudent opinion.

“It would have been a welcome move had the rural infrastructure been good enough for learners. With the given rural infrastructure, what we will learn? Those interested to pursue PG studies will rather get discouraged and not pursue further studies.”

Considering the students’ demand genuine, RIMS doctor Prabhat said: “The proposal basically means that the students should keep on studying. We believe graduation should not take such long time. The rural internship should be made mandatory for PG students.”

The members of the Ranchi chapter of IMA too have reservations about the decision.

Echoing Prabhat, president of IMA’s Ranchi chapter R.N. Das told The Telegraph that the association would support the students’ plea.

“Every year counts. If we stretch MBBS for such a long time it will effect community’s health. The one-year rural internship should be made mandatory only after the PG course,” Das added.