Karnataka: Rural service must only for govt college medicos?
- BENGALURU: The Karnataka state health department has put forth a proposal to modify the law governing compulsory rural service for medical graduates in an effort to alleviate the financial burden on the government. The suggested change would make the mandatory service applicable only to students from government medical colleges, potentially resulting in an annual saving of Rs 544 crore.
- At present, the compulsory service rule applies to students graduating from both government and private medical colleges under the Karnataka Compulsory Service by Candidates Completed Medical Courses Act of 2012. However, the department has recommended restricting the rule exclusively to government college students.
- The current stipend for compulsory service stands at Rs 62,666 for MBBS students, approximately Rs 70,000 for MD/MS/diploma students, and around Rs 72,800 for super specialty students. The Act states that these students should receive a stipend slightly lower than the minimum gross salary earned by general duty medical doctors/specialists/senior specialists in the health and family welfare department.
- Considering all 7,845 MBBS, 2,844 PG, and 180 super-specialty students entering compulsory service, the cost would amount to a staggering Rs 844 crore annually. However, if only the 2,750 MBBS, 1,050 PG, and 100 super-specialty students registered with government colleges are taken into account, the wage burden could be limited to Rs 300 crore.
- Official sources have confirmed that the proposal to restrict compulsory rural service to government college candidates is currently under consideration by the government. Additionally, the department has suggested increasing penalties for students who fail to fulfill this mandatory service.
- While this proposal aims to alleviate the financial strain on the government, some argue that the solution lies in generating sufficient resources to ensure that all medical professionals engaged in compulsory service receive the mandated compensation. The issue of financing has been a longstanding challenge associated with compulsory rural service for medical graduates in Karnataka.