Stung by the government’s stand to not enable doctors from India to settle down permanently in the US after higher studies, the doctors vow to fight what they term an “unreasonable attitude of the ministry”.
In four years beginning 2010, 4000 doctors applied for a no objection certificate from the government to be permitted to stay on in the US after completing their higher medical studies, shows data from the health ministry.
Indian doctors in US in limbo over staying on abroad
“Since the policy changed in 2011, it’s not clear how many were given no objection, but the fate for most hangs in balance now,” said Dr Sagar Mundada, president Central Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors, on Saturday to TOI.
Stung by the government’s stand to not enable doctors from India to settle down permanently in the US after higher studies, the doctors vow to fight what they term an “unreasonable attitude of the ministry”. “To prevent them now from staying back in the US by not issuing the necessary no objection is like saving one drop in the ocean,” said Dr Mundada.
He agreed that India needs 4 lakh more doctors to meet with the minimum 1:1000 doctor-citizen ratio prescribed by the World Health Organization, as claimed by the Centre.
The US government had imposed a condition requiring such students to return to their home countries for two years after completion of studies. The US, however, allows a waiver of the two-year home-coming, for those who wished to stay back and practise medicine, only if the home nation, in this case India, issues them a certificate called, ‘No Obligation to Return to India’ (NORI). Last August, when the Indian government decided to stop issuing such NORI certificates, except to those aged 65 and above, Dr Mundada said it was an “unconstitutional, retrograde move”. He moved the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court to have the decision quashed.
“We’ll reply to the government’s affidavit soon,” said MARD advocate Rahul Totala.
“Government is using doctors as a soft target when other professionals are allowed to leave the country and do not even have to serve a bond. Doctors are the only ones who serve a mandatory bond service in rural areas after graduation, and again after their masters, for a year each in Maharashtra. Government spends a fortune on IITians, many of who leave the country for greener pastures, but they have no such service to perform,” said Dr Mundada.
The decision to not issue NORI to doctors would have been a good move, if and only if it was applied to all professions uniformly, he said and added, “Engineers and management graduates should also be asked to contribute a year’s service in the rural sector on development projects which will go a long way to nation-building. Improved infrastructure with their assistance, would improve primary health care accessibility in these areas too.”
The number of engineers leaving the country is “at least 2-4 times higher”, he said but cited no study.