Medical students across Haryana are protesting against the state government’s bond policy. The protests, which began in early November, have escalated so much that concerns across the country have poured in. away with it altogether. At EdexLive, we thought this would be the right opportunity to decode the policy and understand the situation.
What is bond policy?
This is a policy applicable to MBBS, MD and MS doctors under which they are required to serve the state government for a certain period of time. If they refuse this service, doctors have to pay a fixed amount to the state government as decided by the government. It is also known as a service bond.
Why is it taxed?
There are three reasons why such a policy is imposed by States:
1. Since medical education in public colleges is subsidized, the government wants students from these colleges to provide services to the government after they graduate, says Dr. Ankit Gulia, president of the Association of Medical Residents (RDA) to Pandit Bhagwat. Dayal Sharma Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) in Rohtak.
2. Career consultant Jayprakash Gandhi points out that there are many rural areas in a state with primary health care centers where doctors are needed. And since some students prefer to leave with their medical degrees, a bond policy is one way to keep them.
3. The government must raise funds to build new medical schools and improve its health care infrastructure. “Bond policy is a way to raise funds,” says Dr. Gulia.
However, Gandhi explains that the bond policy is neither mandated by the Center nor does it interfere in the matter. “Only a few states have such policies in place,” he says.
Why is Haryana’s bond policy worrying students?
Here are some of the issues they’ve reported so far:
1. A high amount – Dr. Gulia said that while bond policies in other states set the amount of bond between Rs 10 and 20 lakh for MBBS students, Haryana state government has set it at Rs 40 lakh, to be paid at the time of admission in installments of Rs 10 lakh in four years of the MBBS course, starting from the first year itself. This worries students and they say many choose not to be admitted because of it.
2. Banks intervention- According to the policy, if a student is unable to pay, the government will provide a loan of Rs 10 lakh, which will be canceled if the student gets a government job. But the interest rate is not specified. “IDBI Bank has been appointed to provide loans. We are unsure of the procedure,” Dr Gulia said.
3. No job guarantees – The state government does not offer any job guarantees and jobs in Haryana are few with a large number of applicants. As such, students may run the risk of having to pay the bond amount.
4. Long Term – The government of Haryana has set the term of the bonds at 7 years. Students complain that it’s too long. And nothing specifies whether they can pursue higher education during this period.
Did the protests help?
Continued student protests prompted CM Khattar’s opinion on the matter, who has now said that the amount of the deposit does not need to be paid at the time of admission, but can be paid after completion. of the course, as informed by Dr. Gulia. However, the students are unhappy and want the policy rolled back. Meanwhile, the Union Health Department is also looking into the matter, according to a PTI report.
What is the Centre’s position on this?
There is no provision for a bond under the NMC Act 2019 or the previous Indian Medical Council (IMC) Act 1956. In August 2019, the Supreme Court upheld state bail policy, observing that some governments impose rigid conditions. The Supreme Court further suggested that the then IMC develop a uniform policy regarding compulsory entertainment. Then the National Medical Commission (NMC) came into existence and, following the court’s directions, set up a committee to review the policy. However, later it was concluded that the policy did not need to be revised again and since then deliberations on a uniform policy have continued.
The path to follow?
In the absence of a uniform policy or any rules or regulations regarding it, Jayprakash Gandhi suggests that states revise their policy every two years. “Vacancy in health centers, emergencies like pandemics, etc. should be considered before deciding the amount and duration of the policy,” he said, adding, “Nevertheless, the policy shouldn’t be implemented for freshmen. Students should mentally prepare for this.”