Aarti Dhar

MBBS will be of six-and-a-half years

It requires an amendment to MCI Act that needs Parliament nod

Doctors will be get monthly stipend of Rs. 8,000-10,000

NEW DELHI: The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has approved the proposal for compulsory rural posting for doctors. One year posting in rural and inaccessible areas will now be made part of the curriculum.

Once approved by the Medical Council of India (MCI), this would mean that the MBBS course would now be of six and a half years instead of the present five and a half years.

The proposal requires an amendment to the MCI Act that needs to be approved by Parliament. The new curriculum will be applicable from the 2008-09 academic year, after being passed by Parliament.

Applicable to all medical colleges

According to Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Anbumani Ramadoss, the proposal, if approved, will be applicable to both the government and private medical colleges.

India churns out 29,500 medical graduates annually but even then there are few healthcare facilities in the rural and far-flung areas.

The one-year rural posting will include serving at the district headquarters for four months, community health centres for another four months and the primary health centres for the remaining four months.

The doctors will be given a monthly stipend of Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 10,000 as an incentive to work in these areas, Dr. Ramadoss said.

They will be based at the district headquarters and will serve under the District Health Officer.

Earlier there was a proposal to make rural postings compulsory after the MBBS course and a doctor will have to serve in the rural areas for at least one year before he applied for a post-graduation course.

However, this proposal was dropped.

The proposal was mooted keeping in mind the poor healthcare facilities in the rural areas, particularly the shortage of doctors as even the government doctors are reluctant to serve in these regions and would rather join the private sector for better salaries and an urban posting.