Thousands of Indian medical students are protesting against the health ministry. It has proposed boosting health care in rural areas through mandatory service. The five and a half year bachelor of medicine and surgery (MBBS) course would be extended by one year.
The rural posting is one of the recommendations made by a task force headed by the health minister Anbumani Ramadoss to tackle a shortage of doctors in villages. Dr Ramadoss has said that the protests, including fasting and boycotts of lectures, are unnecessary and that a final decision had not yet been taken.
“This is not a new scheme, as compulsory rural service was in force in the country 30 years ago. Even now, this is in practice in states like Kerala and Maharashtra. This will be only a temporary scheme for a few years to bring down the infant and maternal mortality rates in rural areas,” he