Saturday, August 10, 2013

Doctors planning strike against compulsory rural postings

Plan candlelight march on Sunday

Over 2,000 medical students from Delhi and some other states staged a sit-in at Jantar Mantar on Thursday, threatening they would go on strike if the government persists with its policy to make it compulsory for medical students to serve in rural areas, otherwise they won’t be eligible for admission to postgraduate medical courses.

After the sit-in, they marched towards Nirman Bhavan to meet the Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, but were confronted with water canons, when they tried to break the barricades set up by police to prevent their march.

Though the students alleged that batons were also used on them and that 10 students were injured, the police denied both the allegations.

Earlier, accusing the government of playing vote-bank politics and treating Medical Council of India (MCI) members as its puppets, the students also threatened to increase the frequency and intensity of their protests and take it to other states.

To make their intentions clear, they announced a candlelight march at India Gate on Sunday evening to protest against the policy.

“If the government does not relent, all the students in all the medical colleges in Delhi will go on strike,” said Dr Anirudh Lochan, national secretary of Young Doctors Association of India.

Necessary action

The ministry, later in the day, while assuring them that it would examine their grievances and take necessary action, reminded them that the decision is “in line with the commitment of the government to improve the availability of doctors in rural areas of the country.”

The students have the option of approaching the court but one of the doctors said, “Much damage will already be done by the time the courts come up with a decision.”

The agitation has the backing of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Delhi Medical Association (DMA), members of which pointed out that, apart from other issues that will hamper the careers of the students, the government will not be able to fund the rural postings.

“Even if all the MBBS graduates are given rural-posting, an annual budget of over 5,000 crore will be required to pay salaries to these doctors,” said Dr K K Aggarwal, vice-president of IMA.

“It is not going to be possible when the overall health budget comprises of only 0.9 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP),” Aggarwal added.

Source : Deccan Herald



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