National office-bearers of India’s largest body of doctors on Saturday joined medical students in Haryana in protesting against a state proposal to get MBBS graduates from government medical colleges to cough up Rs 36 lakh if they decline to work for the state after graduation.
Indian Medical Association (IMA) national president Sahajanand Prasad Singh from Patna and secretary Jayesh Lele from Mumbai joined some 500 students at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak, against what they described as “an unjust bond policy”.
Singh said he had assured the students of the IMA’s full support against Haryana’s bond policy that he said would deter students from poor and middle-class families from pursuing medical education.
Singh, who is also a member of the National Medical Commission (NMC), India’s apex regulatory authority for medical education and practice, said the commission too opposed such restrictions on medical students.
“We hope things will be resolved through persuasion and discussions,” Singh said, after the morning visit to Rohtak.
Students in Haryana have been protesting against a November 7 state government notification on admission rules for MBBS seats in colleges.
The rules include a “bond for incentivising doctors after completion of MBBS course from government and government-aided medical colleges”.
The rules would require students to execute at the time of admission a bond for Rs 36,40,636 if they complete MBBS from government medical colleges and for Rs 32,80,000 if they complete MBBS from government-aided medical colleges.
The bond would be implemented at the end of the MBBS course if the medical graduate chooses not to serve the Haryana government on selection, the rules say.
“Such a high bond amount will for many students become a barrier to taking up medical education,” said Karan Juneja, chair of the Haryana IMA junior doctors’ network.
“No other state has such a harsh rule.”
A few other states have bonds but these involve much smaller amounts, another doctor opposing the rules said. Some doctors say the Haryana government’s intention appears to be to use funds from the public to make up for its own low expenditure on health.
“There are always more applicants than government vacancies being filled,” said Manish Jangra, a dermatologist in New Delhi and founding member of the Federation of All India Medical Associations, a body of postgraduate students and doctors.
“ Earlier this year, there were over 9,000 applications for around 1,000 government vacancies for doctors in Haryana,” Jangra said.