MBBS grads can’t skip bond service

MUMBAI: MBBS graduates in Maharashtra who have completed their internships before March 31 will have to go through the mandatory bond service this year. The Directorate of Health Services issued a circular to this effect on Friday. The circular for the first time also includes the list of around 2,500 eligible graduates. Even the ones keen on pursuing post-graduation will have to serve the bond till they secure a seat. The circular specifies that penal action will be taken against candidates not reporting to the allotted centre within seven days.

Additionally, the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) will be deploying over 7,000 medical interns on Covid duty across the state soon, besides creating a pool of 11,000 graduating nurses available for fresh appointments in hospitals facing a shortage. “Post-graduate entrance exams have been postponed in the country. Whenever students get a seat they can opt out, but till then they will have to complete the bond service. We are in a pandemic and action will be taken against students resisting the bond service. The compulsory bond will ensure we have doctors in district hospitals and rural centres too,” said Dr TP Lahane, director, DMER, to which students have to apply. Exemption will be granted only to those who pay Rs 10 lakh as bond, as is the rule.

Medical graduates have been asked to apply to DMER by April 21 in an online process. Offline applications will not be accepted, said the circular. Candidates have been asked to apply for Thane, Pune, Nashik, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Akola, Aurangabad and Latur circles only. Students who tried to apply have sought to know why Mumbai is not available as an option.

While students sign the bond every year during admissions, most do not honour it after graduating. But with the state ramping up facilities, the requirement for manpower will soon go up. DMER is, therefore, making bond service mandatory this year, especially for rural areas. “The process has moved online for the first time, but there is no clarity on several aspects,” said Dwij Mehta, an MBBS graduate. Another student said there are vacancies at jumbo Covid centres in Mumbai too. “The circular says students getting an allotment will have to report to the institute within seven days, failing which penal action will be taken. But without clarity on whether Mumbai will be allowed at a later stage, how do we apply online now?” she asked.

Lahane said students who have already started working at Covid centres will be allowed to continue. Sudha Shenoy, a parent representative said, “If PG aspirants complete a few months of bond service before their admissions, will it be carried forward later?” She added that all these doubts should be clarified in another circular soon.

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