Free Medical Education For Every Rural Candidate under Rural Medical Education Bill, Read Details
New Delhi: With an aim to provide quality medical education and equitable distribution of healthcare personnel to all rural areas in the country, Nationalist Congress Party leader Supriya Sule from Maharashtra recently introduced the Rural Medical Education Bill, 2022 before the Lok Sabha.
The bill proposes to waive of the entire tuition fee for medical education, cost of lodging or boarding during the period of education for rural candidates under the rural quota, in exchange of obligatory rural service with the appropriate government for a minimum period of six years.
Although it sounds similar to the MBBS bond service policy, it is different from the perspective of penalty. The bill has proposed that if such candidates fail to serve the Government for the stipulated period of time, their medical license shall be cancelled and they will also have to pay the entire expenditure on medical education to the Government as a fine.
Referring to the fact that the doctor-patient ratio in many rural areas in India is as low as 1:25000, the bill pointed out that, "The issue lies in the distribution of healthcare personnel, with a bulk of doctors preferring to practice in major metropolitan cities, consequently leading to two things: an over-saturation of doctors in cities, and an insidiously low number of doctors in rural areas."
Introduced The Rural Medical Education Bill, 2022 - seeks to provide tuition-waived medical seats to needy candidates from rural districts in India, on the condition that they will practice and provide care to people in their home district for a minimum duration of time. pic.twitter.com/OAMu94PCS9— Supriya Sule (@supriya_sule) April 3, 2022
The salient features of this new bill are as follows:
"3. (1) The appropriate Government shall, within one and a half year from coming into force of this Act, conduct a survey to assess the shortage of healthcare professionals in rural areas of the country.
(2) The survey conducted under sub-section (1) shall be made available to public in such manner as may be prescribed.
4. (1) The appropriate Government shall, on the basis of survey conducted under sub-section (1) of section 3, calculate the number of medical seats required for rural areas and designate it as rural quota.
(2) The appropriate Government shall bear the entire expenditure to be incurred on providing medical degree to every rural candidate under the rural quota including:—
(a) tuition fee for MBBS degree along with any other postgraduate or super-speciality in any disciplines of medical sciences;
(b) the cost of lodging or boarding during the time period of degree as mentioned under clause (a);
(c) such amount as monthly allowance for basic necessities as may be prescribed; and
(d) travel allowance as may be prescribed.
(3) The appropriate Government shall, on the basis of number of medical seats required for rural areas under sub-section (1), take measures to fill such seats as early as possible in such a manner as may be prescribed.
(4) The appropriate Government shall ensure that the selection of medical seats under sub-section (3) take on a yearly basis.
5. No rural candidate shall be eligible to be selected for the rural quota medical seats calculated under sub-section (1) of section 4 unless—
(a) he has obtained qualified marks as per National Eligibility-cumEntrance Tests administered by the appropriate Government; and
(b) declared successful in the selection interview by the Board.
6. Notwithstanding anything in this Act, the appropriate Government shall provide reservation in Medical institutions to rural candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes in such manner as may be prescribed.
7. Every candidate selected under rural quota under section 4 shall comply with such set of rules and conditions, as may be prescribed, including,—
(a) the completion of the medical degree with satisfactory results;
(b) signing of an employment contract or bond for obligatory service with the appropriate Government in rural areas.
8. Every candidate selected under rural quota shall sign an employment contract or bond with the appropriate Government on the terms that:—
(a) on completion of his medical degree he shall serve in the district to which he belongs for a minimum period of six years;
(b) if he fails to comply with the term as mentioned under clause (a) or the rules framed under section 7, he shall be liable for cancellation of licence to practice and also shall be liable to fine equivalent to the entire expenditure incurred on his medical education."
Apart from these, the bill also proposes that the "Central Government, shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute a Board to be known as the National Board for Rural Medical Education for carrying out the purpose of this Act."
This National Board shall include a representative each from Union Ministry of Finance, Health and Family Welfare and Rural Development, one member each representing Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, three eminent female members and a transgender member from the medical field. The purpose of the Board will be to oversee-
To view the bill, click on the link below.
M.A in English
Barsha completed her Master's in English from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.