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Compulsory Rural Stint for Doctors: Ramadoss

The government proposes to revive the thorny issue of making a one-year rural stint compulsory for medical graduates, said Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss Friday.//

A proposal on the issue would be drafted by December and placed before the cabinet, the minister told reporters after the second meeting of the ministerial steering group of the National Rural Health Mission.

"By December we hope to go to the cabinet for clearance of the proposal," he said.

In order to meet health targets and bridge the acute shortfall of trained doctors in rural healthcare centres, it is proposed that medical students would not be given the licence to practice or go in for further studies till they have completed one-year rural posting after internship, said Ramadoss.

"We are proposing to bring in a legislation for compulsory one-year posting in rural areas after internship, when the medical student would be given temporary registration. During the one-year rural posting, the medical graduate would be given a stipend but no salary," said Ramadoss.

In effect, this would mean that medical graduation would take six-and-a-half years instead of the current five-and-a-half years including internship, said Health Secretary P.K. Hota.

Every year around 28,000 graduates pass out of the 240 medical colleges, including private institutions.

To win over the Indian Medical Association (IMA), which had opposed a similar proposal in the past, Ramadoss said they would be invited for discussions next month.

The National Rural Health Mission is being scaled up to improve healthcare and sanitation in rural areas. The cabinet had last month approved a health ministry proposal to provide more financial and structural flexibility with the target of reducing maternal and child mortality, improving nutrition and reducing the burden of diseases in rural areas.

The health ministry also plans to trai
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