While this rule might appeal to a more democratic mass, it surely doesn't make any medicinal or organizational sense as in India, there is a severe lack of facilities for higher studies. Moreover, the increasing rat race each year with lakhs of students applying for PGs and only a few getting through due to various reasons like lack of colleges, lesser number of seats, quotas, donations, etc., many students opt to go abroad. India produces 40,525 medical graduates who vie for 16,088 PG seats every year.
"Any student travelling for further medical education to the US will have to give us a bond that he will return after completing the studies. In the last three years, 3,000 doctors went abroad for studies and didn't return. If a student doesn't return from the US, he won't be allowed to practise there," Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
Doctors and students speak
The decree has invited scornful disapproval and much criticism from the medical community – students and doctors alike. They chorus that this kind of blind decision to not allow papers for work visa to US will only redirect the brain drain to Europe and other countries where immigration is comparatively lax.
Says Dheeraj Mishra, a student of AIIMS, Delhi, "Fine. So we will come back after the PG from US. So you give us jobs that pay us as much as we would get paid in the US. Can you?"
The real question here is does any government like that Indian sovereign that provides subsidized education also have the right to ask its citizens to not leave? Does that not take away from the democratic right of a person to be able to settle wherever in the world he/she wants to?
Says Dr K S Reddy, former head of the department of cardiology, AIIMS, "Expecting doctors to return to the country after finishing their studies is legitimate but this has to be supplemented by a well-developed framework for their guaranteed and gainful employment so that their knowledge and skills are adequately utilised either in AIIMS-like institutes or the district hospitals or in course of the extensive up-gradation planned for medical institutes."
Students from all over the country lashed out against the decree. "Why should I come back to a country where first of all I spent lakhs to get an MBBS paying donations and going through quota and everything? It was enough mental stress as it is. Now for PG also why should I go through so much pain? Anyway, colleges are very less in number. What if I never get through?" questions Meera Mohan, a final-year MBBS student of R. A. Poddar Medical College, Mumbai.
"This is outrageous," says Rishabh Parekh, an MBBS from Bombay Hospital Institute of Medical Sciences. "There are no proper facilities for doing specialized medical PG in India. For immunology or genetic studies, no facilities exist in our country and there is no scope for training in these subjects unless we go abroad. If I major in one of these studies abroad and come back, I wont be able to use my skills in these specializations as the facilities for the same are non-existent."
Doctor Rupesh Gandhi, a senior surgeon at Terna Medical College said, "Assuming that the best doctors leave the country due to brain drain is in itself wrong. Considering the cutthroat competition for admissions in both MBBS and PG, it's the mostly the people who don't manage to get into Indian universities who go abroad. This is just a ridiculous order that the Health minister has made. A more sensible solution is to work on getting better medical facilities in the country so that our medicos don't feel like leaving at all.