U.T. Khader, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, has said that the Bill to make one-year rural service mandatory for medical graduates is awaiting Presidential assent.

“Discussions are on at the level of the Union Health Ministry and the Medical Council of India about bringing in modifications to the rules making it compulsory for medical graduates to serve in rural areas for one year, and only then they would be given the certificates,” Mr. Khader said.

Mr. Khader, who was here to participate in a Haj-orientation programme, held a review meeting of the Health Department on Sunday.

Addressing presspersons, he said that the Bill proposed to increase the fine to be imposed on those who do not serve in rural areas, from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh for MBBS graduates, Rs. 10 lakh for postgraduate diploma holders and Rs. 25 lakh for postgraduates. To a question, he said that the process of recruiting 331 doctors was kept pending awaiting the approval of the government to the rules framed by the Cabinet subcommittee on providing reservation in employment to Hyderabad Karnataka region.

Mr. Khader said that the State government had decided to have one ambulance to serve a population of 50,000 and it had been proposed to add over 300 more ambulances to the existing fleet of 517. In addition, steps were being taken to replace 190 old ambulances with financial assistance from the World Bank.

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