MUMBAI: From the next academic year, medical graduates serving in remote parts of Maharashtra will get bonus marks in their entrance tests for post-graduation courses depending on the type of the area they served in — rural, hilly, tribal or Maoist-affected.
The Directorate of Health Services (DHS) proposed setting up a committee to categorise such areas and decide the quantum of additional marks — more challenging the working conditions, more the marks.
Students will be awarded up to 30% or 400 marks of the total 1,500 marks of the National Eligibilitycum-Entrance Test for post-graduation courses (NEET-PG).
The committee, which will be headed by Dr Prakash Doke, a former director of DHS, will consider factors such as geographical location and accessibility to categorise the remote areas.
"Until now, there wasn't a proper classification of remote areas. As a result, the doctors serving in a high-risk area such as Gadchiroli would get the same bonus marks as those serving in calmer parts of the state. We have now decided to streamline the process," said Satish Pawar,
director, DHS. In a bid to incentivise doctors to serve in remote places, the Medical Council of India (MCI), as part of its Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations 2000, had introduced the ‘bonus’ marks for ‘eligible in-service’ doctors in admission tests for PG medical courses.
In a 2012 regulation, MCI gave discretionary power to the state governments to award incentive marks to the in-service candidates working in the notified remote areas.
While Maharashtra has been awarding additional marks to ‘in-service’ candidates, it would maintain a separate merit list and had a separate 30% quota for these candidates. But following a recent Supreme Court verdict, the state this year decided to quash the quota and came up with a common merit list with additional incentive marks for the ‘in-service’ candidates.
The scheme has received a mix response from the doctors and parents of medical students. “The state should focus on improving conditions in rural health care facilities so that doctors don’t have to be incentivised or forced to serve in remote parts,” said Sudha Shenoy, a parent. Sagar Mundada, state president, Indian Medical Association Youth Wing, welcomed the decision