Local students would be given preference in a medical course to train doctors for postings in rural areas, the government told the Lok Sabha today.
Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, Minister of State for Health Dinesh Trivedi said the Bachelor of Rural Medicine and Surgery (BRMS) course was a revolutionary step to ensure proper healthcare in villages.
While NDA Convenor and JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav expressed support for the scheme, several members of the Opposition and even the treasury benches voiced their reservation over the scheme contending that it would lead to prevalence of “half-baked” medical professionals across the country.
Those who obtain the BRMS degree, also called as rural MBBS, will get a licence to practice only in notified rural areas. They cannot travel to cities for work or go for higher education. Only students from rural areas will be allowed admission.
P. C. Chacko (Congress) contended that the BRMS programme would produce "half-baked" doctors and even the Medical Council of India (MCI) had opposed the scheme. Ratna De (Trinamool Congress) also questioned BRMS.
As members were not satisfied, Speaker Meira Kumar asked them to give a notice for a short duration discussion to deliberate on the issue in detail.
Mr. Trivedi said all the chief ministers and various experts had welcomed the initiative that would lead to weeding out of quacks operating in rural and urban areas.
He said the government plans to have 1.47 lakh such rural doctors who would work in healthcare sub-centres at the district and village levels.
The objectives are to provide trained persons in rural areas to provide treatment for ailments, early diagnosis, stabilisation and referral and promoting public health activities, Mr. Trivedi said.
In reply to a separate question, the minister said the sex ratio in the country had increased to 933 females per 1,000 males during the 2001 census. This was 927 in the 1991 census.
Female foeticide is a serious issue and stringent action should be taken against those indulging in it, the Speaker observed.