Doctors in India-the dooms day is near!
On the heels of the announcement by the Union Health Minister, Shri JP Nadda, that no doctor will be given NORI (No Obligation to Return to India) certificate under any circumstance, except if the doctor is over 65 years of age; the decision seems to have put the future of doctors in jeopardy.
Basically, NORI is a certificate required by all the people, including all faculties who go to USA on J1 visa. J1 visa is subject to presence of 2 year in the home country (physical presence is mandatory), which in turn requires the J1 visa holders to return to their home country for at least 2 years at the end of their visitor exchange program. The decision of not issuing NORI ( No obligation to return to India) certificate, is a direct way of preventing doctors from working abroad and staying there.
The reason given for such a move?
The reason given to us is to prevent “Brain Drain”.
But why doctors only? Why not engineers, IITians, MBAs? Why just us?
The government’s decision to not issue NORI certificate to doctors would have been a good move, if and only if its was applied to all professions uniformly, and just singularly to doctors. As if we are the soft targets. Further, It would be pertinent to note that doctors are the only professionals who do compulsory bond service in rural areas after completing MBBS, and again do bond service by giving back to the society even after completing MD/MS.
Also, the government spends a fortune to train IITians, many of whom leave the country, in hope of better job prospects. They do not have to do any bond service, neither is there any guideline to stop this brain drain from the country. The number of engineers leaving the country is 2-4 times more than that of the doctors.
And is there a massive Brain Drain of Doctors?
According to government statistics itself, “During 2010-2014, a total number of 3,947 Statement of Need (SON) Certificates and Exceptional Need Certificates (ENC) were issued by the Health Ministry to Indian doctors to enable them to pursue higher medical studies in the United States of America (USA),”.The present number of MBBS/MD doctors in India is around 2 lakh doctors Stopping 4000 doctors from going abroad is like saving one drop in the ocean.
And Who are they trying to stop?
There are enough examples in the medical fraternity of doctors going abroad, learning new techniques and know-how, coming back and doing wonders for the profession and the society. The government before making such harsh moves, should realize whether they have created facilities at home to create technical advancements so doctors can grow and innovate within the country
Everything apart, this move appears to the hitting the constitutional right of doctors. The Indian Constitution, the highest authority governing us, has also been at sidelines while taking this decision. Article 13 of the India Constitution ,clearly states that any law inconsistent with, or in derogation of the fundamental rights of freedom will be null and void.
On behalf of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors, we have already written to the Prime Minister in his official grievance redressal forum asking for his intervention. Moreover, we have are also in the process of filing a writ petition in court against the Government Of India for violating the constitutional fundamental rights of doctors.
Dr Sagar Mundanda
President, Central M.A.R.D