"Stay in India", says govt to doctors
MARD moves court against govt's decision which nullifies chances of doctors going abroad to practice.
Doctors in Maharashtra are a peeved lot as the government has stopped issuing a key certificate that enables them to practice abroad. They say they have been singled out as the education of IIT and IIM students is also subsidised but they have no obligation to work in India.
Taking its fight to the courts, the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) has filed a writ petition against the Centre for putting a halt on the practice of issuing the No Obligation to Return to India (NORI) certificate.
Any doctor who wants to work in a foreign country needs a NORI certificate.
Doctors say that the government's move is a violation of their fundamental right and that they are free to work and stay outside India.
"Why only doctors? The government spends a huge amount of money on IIT and IIM students too," said Dr Sagar Mundhada, president of MARD. "We had no choice but to approach the judiciary," he said, adding that while IIT and IIM students are not expected to give returns, doctors have a compulsory bond to serve the government for one year.
Last week, health minister JP Nadda had said that the NORI certificate will not be issued under any circumstances, except to those above 65 years of age. The idea behind the move is to prevent medicine's 'creamy layer' from migrating to greener pastures. Government authorities claim that the key reason behind the poor doctor-patient ratio in India is doctors shifting abroad.
"It is an extremely haphazard decision by the government. Instead of looking at why so many doctors prefer to work abroad, the government is taking a short cut which will not work," said Dr Amol Annadate, paediatrician and neonatologist practicing in Marathwada. A student of GS Medical College attached to the KEM hospital, Annadate too headed to Australia after his masters. "I worked there for over 8 months but I had the urge to do something for people in my country," he said, adding that this decision was not easy as the system in India 'bends and breaks you'.
"The government should mend the problems ailing the medical education rather than forcing decisions on doctors," said Annadate, who runs his own 250-bed medical facility and is the only paediatrician and neonatologist catering to a population of over 4 lakh people in five talukas of Marathwada. The Indian Medical Association has not taken a stand on the issue yet. However, Dr KK Aggarwal, president of IMA said that there was nothing wrong with the government expecting doctors to come back and serve the country. "IMA has not decided its stand. This is my personal opinion," he said.